Oral Health Talk and Check-up for Senior Citizens

An exhibition and talk on oral health by Dr Kee Chai Hung and his colleagues from Klinik Kesihatan Kepala Batas was held on 6th March at the Conference Room of NBVM Church. During the exhibition, Drs Kee and Mira and their colleagues were at hand to answer any questions regarding oral care and health.

At 9.30am, Stephen Francis, who initiated and organised the talk, kicked it off by welcoming the participants and thanking Dr Kee and his colleagues for taking time off for the event. William Henry said a prayer, thanking God for the doctors and nurses who came and asking Him for his blessings. Then, Dr Kee held the floor for about an hour on the topic of “Oral Care for the Elderly”.

Dr Kee started off by stating the importance of geriatric dentistry or oral care for the elderly. With a PowerPoint presentation and examples, he spelt out that geriatric dentistry encompasses the diagnosis, treatment, management, and prevention of oral problems in the elderly. He reminded the elderly that a balanced diet, rich in calcium, iron, and zinc, is essential not only for general health but also for dental health.

Without a balanced diet and proper dental health care, the elderly will soon lose their teeth and have to resort to the use of dentures. These and the changes in the salivary glands, poor eating habits, oral cavities, and ill-fitting dentures, may cause the elderly to lose their appetite, resulting in poor health.

Next, Dr Kee dealt with the problems facing the elderly, their causes, and their treatment. He advised diabetics to control their intake of sugar, as one in five diabetics usually suffers from premature tooth loss owing to tooth decay. He also touched on the causes and treatment of tooth decay, gum problems, and dry mouth.

He suggested that one should visit the dentist at least once every six months to check for abrasions, erosion, and gum exposure. For dry mouth, he suggested using an alcohol-free, moisturising mouth wash. Next, Dr Kee spoke of how to care for one’s dentures. They must be soaked in a solution of denture cleanser, brushed, and rinsed thoroughly.

Finally, Dr Kee touched on oral cancer. He assured those present that early detection of oral cancer can cure it. Oral cancer can occur on any part of the mouth, but the most common site is the tongue. He advised one to look out and seek medical help if a sore or ulcer does not heal in a week or two, a white or red patch, pain in the ear, or difficulty swallowing. According to him, the common causes of oral cancer are smoking, alcohol, and human papillomavirus (HPV).

The talk was followed by a very lively Q&A session. Lawrence, a participant, expressed his appreciation to Dr Kee for his very informative and interesting talk on oral care. Many questions were posed and answered with clarity by Dr Kee. The talk ended with a quiz that generated a lot of responses from participants.

Stephen Francis thanked Dr Kee who was then presented with a token from the parish. Stephen reminded the participants to register for the dental and oral care checkup that will be coordinated by Dr Nazirah and her team on March 20.

After the talk, many stayed back to view the exhibition and ask questions. During the exhibition, when asked about how to remove food stuck in the mouth, Dr. Mira advised the use of small toothbrushes that are only about 0.05mm or 0.1mm and not with toothpicks. The whole event ended at 12.30 pm.

On 20th March, two doctors and their assistants were at hand to attend to those who came. Seven nurses took care of the registration. The team of doctors and nurses comprises those from clinics in Seberang Perai Utara. Many were impressed by the professionalism of the doctors, the meticulous organisation of the event, and the services rendered by the staff from the local klinik kesihatan. Those who came were very grateful to the team that rendered their service.

Many took the opportunity to also WhatsApp a vote of thanks to Stephen Francis and his team for their efforts in organising the above activity for senior citizens. (By Nativity Seniors)