The Deepavali gathering at Dewan Yogi Ram Surat Kumar, Buntong on Saturday, November 18 was jointly organised by the Dental Division of the Perak Health Department and the Perak Hindu Religious Council. It was held in conjunction with the just-concluded Oral Cancer Awareness Week.
The event was graced by Dato’ Elango Vadiveloo, special adviser to the Menteri Besar. Its objective was to promote dental hygiene within the Indian community while fostering good relationship between the health department and the religious body.
Based on a 2016 survey on oral cancer, involving 7164 people in Perak, it was found that 52 per cent of them were at risk while 60 people were diagnosed with oral cancer. In fact, people between the ages of 50 to 70 are commonly diagnosed with tongue cancer.
Ipoh Echo questioned the benefits of dental screening procedure, which was done in a modified trailer on-site and free-of-charge. Dr Ashvini Maniam, the head of the Buntong government dental clinic responded, “Dental screening helps to determine oral hygiene and signs of oral cancer. It’s important for everyone to know.”
She added that such screening could reveal lifestyle-related problems such as smoking, alcohol consumption and tobacco and betel-leaf chewing that affect oral hygiene.
Over a hundred people were screened during the duration of the event. Goodie bags were given to the first 50 attendees. Exclusive items were presented to those who had perfect oral conditions, as a form of incentive.
“There are five rules to observe when taking medicine,” said a local pharmacy representative. “They’re timing, diagnosis, medication type, dosage and how to take the medicine correctly.”
Tooth mascots, a music band and several dance performances made up the bulk of the morning programme. Children were intrigued by the sight of a walking life-sized denture.