Close to 85 per cent of the little over one lakh Chennai Corporation school students screened over the past year for various dental ailments were found to be having at least one abnormality.
A team of dentists from Tamil Nadu Government Dental College, which conducted the camps in the 300-plus schools of the civic body, carried out 12,196 fillings, 14,174 scalings, 1,713 extractions and referred 40,244 students to the college for further treatment.
College principal K.S.G.A. Nasser said children, especially those in middle, high and higher secondary classes, did not take care of their teeth properly.
“Most of them do not have the habit of brushing their teeth twice a day. Their parents cannot afford to take them to dentists. They go to the dentist only when the pain is acute.”
The dentists, who identified some children with cleft lip and palate, have referred them for further treatment.
The team of assistant professors, including Ramkumar, Rupkumar and Vijaykanth, and 12 house surgeons, also found that a few boys in some schools had fallen into the habit of chewing tobacco products. “We have advised them against that,” Dr. Nasser said.
During the programme, batches of students were taught correct brushing practices. Heads of the schools and teachers were also instructed on the same.
“The Corporation arranged food and transport for our team during the check-up. We took some of our material and the civic body gave some. We have now suggested that a mobile van be procured to treat the school students,” he said.
A mobile dental clinic at a cost of Rs.5.95 lakh for use by dentists to provide check-ups for Corporation schoolchildren was launched recently. Mayor M.Subramanian said that the van was procured after a recommendation by the dental college. “We keep getting new students and also want to make the check-ups a regular feature.”