Wits students celebrate National Oral Health Day by giving back.

WITS third-year oral health sciences students launched a dentistry application and authored a book to mark National Oral Health Day on Thursday, September 26.

Two groups of students worked on the projects as a requirement for their community dentistry project, which aims to improve South Africa’s oral health.

The first group of six students authored a book titled Learning: Big Health Smiles. The book is aimed at primary school children at disadvantaged schools, and it explains teaching methods to improve their oral hygiene.

Oral hygienist and lecturer Patience Phakela said the book will help teachers educate children about their dental hygiene.

She told Wits Vuvuzela that, “Not all residential areas have dental clinics, so the community dentistry project is another way to combat caries in our communities, and if this is included in the curriculum at primary schoolsm it is going to help.”

The group was scheduled to meet with an official of the Department of Basic Education for the second time on September 26, in order to discuss the incorporation of the book into the South African teaching curriculum.

One of the book’s authors, Lisa Sibaca, told Wits Vuvuzela that, “We decided to write a book because we want to leave a lifetime legacy instead of doing a one-time project. The book will do more than just oral health teaching; it will improve speech development and confidence once children start taking care of their teeth the right way.”

The second group developed an application called Oral Health Bar with information on how to take care of one’s mouth and common problems experienced in the mouth.

One of the members of the second group, Marguerite Brussow, said it was their vision to reach as many South Africans as possible “in the hope of improving oral health and, in turn, the quality of life”.

The application is available for download on their website, oralhealthbar.wixsite.com, and is waiting to be reviewed before being made accessible on Google Play Store.

FEATURED IMAGE: Lecturer Patience Phakela (centre) poses with third-year oral health students.  Photo: Jabulile Mbatha