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Dental camps target 1.09 lakh school students in Coimbatore

R. Sairam
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Awareness programmes will also be conducted

Dentist N. Sathiavathi attends to a school student during a medical camp at a government school near Kinathukadavu in Coimbatore district on Wednesday.— PHOTO: R. Sairam
Dentist N. Sathiavathi attends to a school student during a medical camp at a government school near Kinathukadavu in Coimbatore district on Wednesday.— PHOTO: R. Sairam

With a pilot study by the State Government finding that over half the students of classes III to VIII suffer from dental carries (tooth decay or a cavity), the Health Department has taken up a major campaign across Tamil Nadu to tackle this issue.

Under the ‘School Dental Screening and Treatment Scheme,’ more than 1.09 lakh students will be screened for dental problems in Coimbatore district. Awareness programmes would also be held as this is the age when children are prone to consume sweets, chocolates, and sugar, all of which could affect the gums, Deputy Director of Health Services R. Damodharan, told The Hindu , here on Wednesday.

“Between the ages of 8 and 13 years, all the primary teeth (baby teeth) are shed and replaced by permanent teeth. The first and second permanent molars would have also developed by 13 years. Therefore, we have to prevent dental carries in 28 out of the 32 permanent teeth before a child reaches 13 year of age.”

Besides detecting dental problems, he informed that the camp would also be utilised to provide simple dental services, removal of decayed primary teeth and grossly decayed permanent teeth with parental consent and filling up of temporary and permanent teeth with the latest filling material. Referrals of other type of cases to the nearest facility with transport provision will also be done.

Apart from aiming to reduce the proportion of children with untreated dental decay, the scheme also looked to strengthen the health promotion and education activities at the school level.

Other common cases among children were periodontal diseases, malocclusion, dental fluorosis, oral cancer and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders besides tooth fractures, ulcers and bad breath.

Dr. Damodharan informed that IEC (information, education and communication) campaign was also being held at all the schools so that the children could learn to avoid tooth problems. The school teachers have also received training to both spot dental issues and create awareness among students.

Giving a break-up of the schools, he said that 150 Government schools (32,962 students), 890 Panchayat Union schools (57,954 students) and 116 aided schools (18,906 students) will be covered in this campaign, which began in February. A few blocks have already been completed.

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