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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:57 pm 
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One thing often overlooked in disaster situations is oral health. It may sound strange, however, under stressful situations, whether you are a victim, rescue personnel, or you ran for the hills, deficiencies in food, medicine, clean water, and supplies; topped with physical and psychological stress can lead to a lack of hygiene, which in turn can lead to serious health problems. In this case of oral disease can easily occur. If your mouth hurts, you don’t eat. If you don’t eat, your health will further decline. If you decline, you don’t survive.

It may sound silly, but dentists have a big part in response and recovery of a disaster, and not just in the traditional role of forensic odontology. With their extensive academic training, practical skills, and equipment, dentists played a role in the front lines of medical emergency response during the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. Dentists flocked to the disaster sites to “donat[e] blood and relief supplies, financial aid, participation in the emergency medical response team and providing emergency dental treatment and unique professional dental care services for victims and rescue personnel (Dai, Zhao, & Li, 2009).”

They were able to participate in the “first-front medical response team and performed various emergency response activities, including assistance in fatality management, triage and pre-hospital care, drugs dispensing, and emergency dental treatment… which greatly enhanced the surge capacity of the local medical system (Dai, Zhao, & Li, 2009).”

In the months after the earthquake, insufficient sleep, extremely decreased immunity, injuries from jaw fractures to broken arms, and lack of supplies prevented proper care resulting in the high demand for dentists in the temporary shelters as disease set in from the lack of supplies, and it was shown that oral health greatly improved the victims’ quality of life during recovery.

The Wenchuan earthquake is just one example of the variety of abilities, willingness to help of these unsung heroes in mass casualty events.

Click here to see the full article:

To see some incredible photos 5 years after the Wenchuan earthquake, click here:


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