Africa: Dance to Buga, but Please Don’t Do This
Opening a bottle with your teeth could end up being painful, disfiguring, and expensive.
Buga by Kizz Daniel and Tekno has everyone dancing globally. The song has gone viral on TikTok and even Nigerian political parties have succumbed to Buga fever, using it as a victory song. In some of May, Buga was the most Shazammed song in the world.
It is little wonder then that since the song’s music video premiered on 22 June, it has garnered more than 34 million views. Buga’s theme is aspirational, encouraging people to wake up and be successful. The video features dancers in colourful costumes exuding joy in celebration evocative of Mardi Gras, Calabar Carnival, or a carnival in the Caribbean.
As Nigerians, the infectious song by Nigerian artists makes us feel proudly Naija. However, as medical professionals, there is one moment in the video that worries us. We are dismayed by the shot in which a female dancer uses her teeth to open a bottle. We know all too well the dangers of this risky act from regretful and suffering patients we have seen ourselves. We fear that such a widely watched video could lead people to mimic the dancer’s actions and similarly cause themselves serious harm.
We want to use this as a teachable moment therefore to educate Nigerians and others watching the video. Teeth are for chewing and smiling, and definitely not for opening bottles. It may seem like a cool party trick, but opening bottles in this way is one of the most dangerous things you can do with your teeth. Doing so could have four main serious health implications.
First, the edge of a bottle cap is so sharp it could cut your gums or mouth leading to severe injury.
Second, this risky behaviour can lead to a cracked tooth, which can affect speaking, eating, swallowing and sleeping. A cracked tooth can also get infected, which can lead to complications such as dental abscess and eventual loss of the tooth.
Third, a broken tooth can have a profound impact on one’s appearance. This can lead to low self-esteem, which can contribute to vulnerability to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. The cost of mental healthcare is high and the process time-consuming.
Fourth, a broken tooth is costly. It cannot heal itself and so requires treatment that can cost $10 to $100 depending on the severity. The minimum wage in Nigeria is about $30 a month.
Sadly, many people in Nigeria are low-income earners who may not be able to afford dental care. Consequently, the affected tooth is often left unreplaced and sufferers are left to deal with the health and social implications.
Those that can afford to have their tooth replaced with implants or dental prostheses must live with the limitations that come with artificial teeth. They must avoid certain hard foods to avoid cracking them. Natural teeth can tell the brain how hard a food is when biting; artificial teeth cannot. Some artificial teeth can cause the shape of the face to change over time due to loss of bone in the jaw. Furthermore, artificial teeth do not last forever. They have life spans of 5 to 25 years, and it costs money to replace them again.
Using one’s teeth to open drinks may seem like a small thing, but it can lead to a vicious cycle of pain, discomfort, and mental trauma. It may seem faster to pop that bottle open with your teeth rather than a bottle opener. But you risk spending infinitely more time and money trying to get your cracked tooth fixed by a dentist and living with the consequences for the rest of your life.
Go ahead and Buga. Be successful. But while you are at it, please protect your teeth.
Dr Ifeanyi M. Nsofor is the Senior Vice President for Africa at Human Health Education and Research Foundation. He is a public health physician, a Senior New Voices Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a Senior Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity at George Washington University and an Innovation Fellow at PandemicTech. Follow him on Twitter at @ekemma. Dr Adekemi Adeniyan is a rural dentist breaking down barriers to oral health for underserved communities to ensure equitable health access for all in Nigeria. She is a Senior New Voices Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a Senior Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity at George Washington University . Follow her on Twitter at .