Pearly Whites Bring a Smile to the Elderly

Published

27

Jul

2021

North Richmond Community Health Centre’s Pearly Whites is a free aged care dental outreach program that has been operating for over seven years. They provide oral health check-ups and information to aged care facilities within the Inner North West Melbourne Medicare Local catchment.
In 2018, five hundred aged care facility residents were seen with over 25% requiring treatment and 40% needing professional teeth cleaning. Unfortunately, statistics show that very few vulnerable residents attend either a private or a community dentist, so Balwyn Rotary stepped in to assist with a solution.
Through significant club funding, a comprehensive range of dental equipment has been purchased so that portable equipment can be set up within aged care facilities to provide dental treatment on-site. The treatment is aimed at providing comfort and function, rather than ‘extravagant’ outcomes. It is an essential service to minimise avoidable health issues, such as aspirational pneumonia, by removing the infection associated with the bacteria clinging to the calculus build-up on teeth. There is also an emphasis on prevention of dental disease by specifically trained North Richmond staff educating the facility staff in necessary oral hygiene procedures. In reality, many residents do not even clean their teeth for weeks at a time.
Associate Professor Rachel Martin, who is now Head of the Department of Oral Health & Dentistry at Latrobe University Dental School in Bendigo, designed the Pearly Whites program. She is now setting up a partnership between the Dental School and North Richmond to involve senior students so that they gain supervised practical experience.
Balwyn Rotary has had fruitful discussions about this program with the Minister for Ageing, Luke Donnellan. He has remarked that this is a wonderful Rotary project that provides an essential service, not only to elderly Melburnians, but could be scaled up across Victoria and subsequently Australia-wide. Additionally, students in regional Victoria will be exposed to practical dental skills, as well as culturally and socially diverse communities to promote equity, health & wellbeing.
Balwyn Rotary members Drs Jim Cary and Brian McGuinness both volunteer dental services at North Richmond Community Health Centre.
If any club would like to know how to become involved in this project that can be extended to other aged care facilities, please contact Dr Brian McGuinness at mcguinnessfamily@hotmail.com.

More News...
  • Million Dollar Gift
    Million Dollar Gift

    From our club to yours: Million-dollar gift celebrates Rotary’s centenary. By Amy Fallon Rotary Down Under Magazine OVER the past four decades, the Camberwell Market, selling secondhand goods and all sorts of knick- knacks, has become a Melbourne icon and tourist attraction, while funding more than $17 million worth of Rotary projects. Now, the Rotary Club of Balwyn, Vic, which continues to run the markets after their beginnings back in 1976, is offering $1 million in funding to other clubs around Australia to mark the centenary of Rotary and to celebrate the success of the market and the projects it has spearheaded over the years. The Balwyn Centenary Grants will offer funding of between $10,000 and $100,000 to successful Rotary club applicants across the country to pursue their programs over the next five years, subject to the market returning to pre- COVID trading. "We realise that we are a very privileged club through the hard work of our past and present members and community spirit of running the Camberwell Market every Sunday for more than 45 years," said past club President Bob Batrouney. "To share our good fortune, our wish is to give other clubs the opportunity to make Australia a better place and fulfil their dreams by giving them financial assistance." Normally open 50 weeks of the year, every Sunday morning until midday, the 380 market stalls in Camberwell, Boroondara, are managed by the club to generate income, which has allowed many phenomenal projects to be established in Australia and overseas. The Rotary Club of Balwyn believes its Centenary Grant funding to clubs will create many more extraordinary Rotary projects around Australia. In 2017, the club received a Rotary International Significant Achievement Award for its outstanding and significant community service efforts for running the market. The Balwvn Centenary Grants will prioritise new projects in the areas of community and social development, the environment, Indigenous support, and youth support. Preference will be given to programs directly benefitting a large number of people or organisations, those that can be completed in a year, and projects that show the benefits and outcomes will be sustained without further Rotary Club of Balwyn funding. Application forms will be available on the Rotary Club of Balwyn website, visit balwynrotary.org.au. There will be two funding rounds each year, in March and September, but applications for 2021 will only be received for the September round. While applications closed for the first round on March 31, applications for the second round will be open until September 30, with clubs notified by May 15 and November 15 each year respectively. Relevant information and application forms are being sent to every district governor in Australia, who will follow-up with each club in their district.

  • Camberwell Sunday Market Now OPEN
    Camberwell Sunday Market Now OPEN

    The safe resumption of the iconic Rotary Camberwell Sunday Market has now happened.  A COVID-SAFE plan is in place to make sure patrons, volunteers and stallholders are safe.

  • Thanks from Navakawau Primary Kids
    Thanks from Navakawau Primary Kids

    Kids from Navakawau Primary send a big vinaka (thank you) to members of Rotary Club of Balwyn. Remote Island schools either don’t have any electricity at all or they have a decent generator that runs for a couple hours during the day and a couple of hours during the evening for the teachers. Balwyn Rotary funded a solar system that gives the school 24-hour power and that means these kids can step into a modern education. The money that is saved on diesel creates decades of cash flow to buy the computers and the other electronic resources for the school and will also save heaps and heaps of carbon dioxide. The school has 165 students, 9 teachers, 8 teachers’ quarters. The school sustained significant cyclone damage and much of the school has been rebuilt repaired with very strong replacements – completed mid 2019. It's Time Foundation