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Dental Therapy Students Reach Out to the Elderly

March 04, 2016

UKZN students provide free oral health screening. 
Senior citizens of Durban’s Asherville community were all smiles after receiving special treatment from third-year UKZN Dental Therapy students during a Health Awareness Day organised by the Rotary Club in Reservoir Hills.

Students Ms Limese Langenhoven, Ms Ncebakaziv Mzomba and Ms Pretty Nxele, led by their Lecturer, Mrs Moganavelli Reddy, provided the elderly with free oral health screening during the fun-filled day.

The annual project targets indigent individuals and families who are in need of medical assessments and treatment but cannot afford these essential services. The Rotary Club said the dental screening had become an integral part of the success of the Health Awareness Day and thanked the UKZN Discipline for its continued support over the years.

The students screened about 80 people, making clinic and hospital referrals where necessary. As this area was close to the students’ clinical training site, they were also able to follow up with bookings for those in need.

Reddy said oral health was essential to general health and in turn the quality of life. ‘Oral health affects people physically and psychologically. It influences how people grow, enjoy life, look, speak, chew, taste food and socialise. Therefore, the mouth should not be viewed separately from the rest of the body.

‘It is important to brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and floss at least once a day. Children and adults should visit the dentist at least once a year. However, patients with a higher risk of dental disease would need to visit more often,’ Reddy said.

The students said eating the correct foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, was important in maintaining good oral health. A diet rich in refined and processed carbohydrates could lead to tooth decay and gingival inflammation.

Lunga Memela

Uploaded by: Fhumulani Andrew Liabara

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