Journal of Oral Medicine and Surgery

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Short Communication - Journal of Oral Medicine and Surgery (2021) Volume 4, Issue 3

The effect of oral health on the quality of life of educare teachers & volunteers in Mfuleni & Khayelitsha

Background: The Dental Wellness Trust (DWT) runs community tailored oral hygiene programmes, empowering individuals in their own communities to drive change. In the townships of Mfuleni & Khayelitsha, teachers and volunteers are responsible for running these programmes. Within South Africa, estimates show that there are 0.085 dentists per 1000 people, which is likely to be markedly lower in the townships. As a result of such scarce resources, service provision needs to as efficient as possible to maximize gain.

Aims: (1) Assess the oral health status & it’s impact on the quality of life of the teachers & volunteers (mamas) in Cape Town townships. (2) Use a standardized data set so that information collected could be compared with other populations across the globe.

Method: A total of 161 Educare teachers and volunteers were assessed with questions exploring medical & social histories, the impact of the patient’s oral health on their quality of life, and a clinical exam. Each clinician was calibrated & trained to use the data set prior to data capture. History taking was aided by volunteers who helped translate between Xhosa and English.

Results: See infographic pictured right. Conclusion: With limited resources in the townships, the provision of dental care needs to be allocated efficiently in order to maximize its effect on treating the local population. Despite a high prevalence of caries & periodontal disease, the majority of respondents reported that their oral health did not have a significant negative impact on daily life. It is possible that other health and social needs were being prioritized over dental healthcare. With this in mind, any health promotion proposed should include education as well as intervention, with a spread of downstream, midstream & upstream initiatives, rather than be fixed at a local level alone

Author(s): Sunmeet Kandhari

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