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News / February 17, 2010

Olympic dental team on course for new record

by Guy Hiscott

At the 2010 winter games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) aims to screen a record number of athletes for oral cancer.

The increased oral screening campaign will also include education for athletes on the importance of applying sun cream to help prevent mouth cancers.       

It has been well documented that alpine athletes are particularly in danger of developing skin and lip cancers due to prolonged exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation while training and competing at high altitudes.

It has been revealed that dentists will be one of the busiest health professionals during the games, screening 20% of all athletes – a 100% rise from the last Winter Olympics.

Dentist Chris Zed, who is leading the Olympic dental care programme, and his colleagues will be using new oral cancer screening technology invented in British Columbia, which floods patients’ mouths with a blue light to help detect and remove oral cancers before they spread.

Dr Zed commented: ‘The Olympics and the Paralympics are about excellence and that is the standard we are striving for with our dental care programmes.’

Around 800 athletes will sit in the dentist’s chair during the competition, with over 70 dentists and their assistants on hand not only to fix damaged teeth and mouths, but also to practise preventive dentistry.

As reported in The Vancouver Sun, based on previous winter Olympics, the dentists can expect about 100 trauma cases involving possible damage to teeth, lips, cheeks and tongues and broken bones.