Dentists from Abu Dhabi hospital Healthpoint supported the Special Olympics World Games 2019 by giving competitors free check-ups.
More than 7,500 athletes from over 170 countries are competing in this year’s event, which takes place in Abu Dhabi from until 21 March, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE’s Armed Forces.
“People of determination may become very anxious at the thought of going to the dentist and may need extra reassurance, or even sedation in some cases,” said Dr. Ilhaam Said Mohammed Abbas, GP Dentist at Healthpoint.
“Sensory impairments, such as sight problems, and poor motor skills may also contribute towards the raised risk of oral conditions amongst this population.”
The Special Olympics World Games is a global movement which focuses on the empowerment of people of determination with intellectual disabilities through the power of sport. Its ‘Special Smiles’ initiative forms part of the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Program, which targets conditions common amongst people of determination. Dr. Abbas together with Dr. Shereena Yaqoub Alsharif Alhashemi, also a Specialist Pediatric Dentist at Healthpoint, led the Special Smiles event at the Special Olympics World Games 2019 as Clinical Directors.
Dr. Abbas said gingivitis – ‘gum disease’ – and tooth decay are particularly prevalent amongst people with cognitive challenges due to poor or infrequent brushing.
She added: “At last year’s event, dentists identified a case of oral cancer in a competitor and referred him for urgent surgery, saving his life.
“While dentists spend much of their careers concerned with tooth decay and gingivitis, our mouths reveal a great deal about our overall health.”
Staff from the department, a designated center of excellence, performed routine procedures such as tooth cleaning, fillings and extractions, referring patients on for further treatment if necessary. They also applied a fluoride varnish, which provides long-lasting protection against dental caries, when needed.
The Special Olympics World Games 2019 features 24 officially sanctioned Olympic-style sports and this is the first time a Special Olympics World Games has been held in the Middle East in its five-decade history. The event’s Healthy Athletes Program educates participants about healthy lifestyle choices and identifies problems that may need further investigation and treatment. Since its launch in 1997, more than 155,000 healthcare professionals and students have been trained to treat people of determination with intellectual disabilities.
The event included scores of healthcare professionals employed by Mubadala’s healthcare divisions, which include Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC) and specialty hospital Healthpoint, as well as Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.