Dental Health Foundation collaborated with Special Olympics Ireland for ‘Special Smiles’ in 2017/2018.
The Special Smiles discipline of Healthy Athletes provided comprehensive oral health care information, including offering free dental screenings and instructions on correct brushing and flossing techniques to participating Special Olympics athletes.
The Dental Health Foundation developed a Report Card in collaboration with Special Olympics Ireland outlining the sugar content in soft drinks and encouraging the consumption of unflavoured milk and water as the most tooth friendly drinks for athletes. It also has tooth and diet tips; the importance of wearing a mouth guard, in addition to information on the impact that smoking and alcohol can have on sporting performance.
The report card also records information and advice from the dentist/dental hygienist regarding a visual dental screening and advises whether it is necessary to attend the dentist for further examination and treatment.
Approximately 250 athletes were been screened in Special Smiles, and Special Olympics Ireland has reported very positive feedback from both dentists and hygienists and also from the athletes and coaches.