Lack of awareness of oral hygiene causes numerous patients to present to dental OPDs with severe tooth ache, oral lesions and other problems. These problems can be easily be prevented with regular screening and community education.
To highlight the importance of oral care and prophylaxis and to decrease dental disease burden among non affording patient community, the Community Dentistry Department of Ziauddin University in collaboration with Kara Health Welfare Association conducted an oral hygiene camp. The camp was set up at a health clinic at Gulshan-e-Sikanderabad on the 31st of December 2013.
Kara Health, a student based charity organization has been actively working towards conducting awareness and medical diagnostic camps in Sikanderabad. This time it conducted its first ever oral hygiene camp. A team of seven dentists was headed by the Head of Department Community Dentistry Dr. Amir Akbar Shaikh and Senior Registrar Dr Mustafa Naseem. Students of third year BDS of Ziauddin Dental College conducted demonstration sessions under supervision of the said faculty members. The program received media attention courtesy of HealthTV.
The audience selected for awareness session comprised principally of children and women. The student dentists started off by giving a verbal presentation on the benefits of maintaining good oral hygiene. To ensure comprehension, a student and interpretor translated the demonstration in Pashto language.
Demonstration of oral hygiene was done on models of oral cavity. Children were taught proper methods of toothbrushing. The children were divided into smaller groups to ensure the method was well understood by each child. A two way communication and dialogue was established to ensure children learn the method and to address their concerns.
The children were then screened individually for their oral health status by the students. Separate medical record cards were made for all participants, and referrals to 0Ziauddin Dental OPD were made to participants requiring dental care.
It was heartening to see the dentists enjoying their role in the community. Though small, it was a much needed effort on behalf of the educated lot to spread awareness to the vulnerable patients. One alarming observation from the camp was that many young, school going children regularly consume gutka and chalia. Some carried them regularly in their pockets. The students then went on to explain the hazards of using tobacco, pan and gutka, and counseled the children not to consume these substances in the future.
Small and continuous efforts such as these are much needed to ensure better oral hygiene among deprived communities. The students showed interest and enthusiasm to conduct similar events in the future, and conduct researches based on their observations and findings.