Oral health in India should be of great concern to many. However, limited knowledge, a lack of access to qualified dentists and the costs involved, many do not seek dental treatment. A group of students from the University of Birmingham are hoping to alleviate some of these issues – if only on a small scale.
It is easy to think of oral health as a self-contained system. However, recent studies and a more holistic approach by doctors has uncovered a number of connections between the mouth and the rest of the body.
Those with a serious gum condition — typically brought on through poor oral hygiene — were found to be forty percent more likely to have a chronic condition such as heart disease or diabetes. One of the reasons for this is chronic inflammation related to the gum infection. It is thought that the chemicals released during the inflammation process may reduce the body’s capacity to regulate blood sugars, leading to a host of health conditions, predominantly diabetes.
Dr Upen Patel and Dr Ketan Patel, along with ten dental students from the School of Dentistry at Birmingham University, are volunteering with the charity Satya Samaj UK. The aim of the project is to provide medical and dental aid to impoverished residents of the Rishikesh and Himalayan region.
The project will involve a special five-day dental, diabetes and asthma health camp which aims to provide free dental care to around 500 individuals. In addition, the group aims to distribute charity donations over the course of their stay.
“Maintaining good oral care is essential for everyone and it is unacceptable that there are people in the world who do not have access to the basic means of keeping their mouth healthy by reducing the risk of dental decay and gum disease,” said Dr Upen Patel, Clinical Lecturer at the University of Birmingham.
Screening for diabetes and asthma is also due to take place, as well as the provision of medical and dental treatments to those in need of them.
This is not the first project led by Satya Samaj UK. The charity has provided similar health camps over the last fifteen years, with last year’s camp taking place in April, raising around £15,000 to help provide treatment.