Special Smiles program at Special Olympics screens athletes for oral cancer

Sept. 11, 2017
Volunteers at the 2017 Special Olympics Provincial Summer Games used the OralID device to screen for oral cancer in athletes.

Volunteers at the 2017 Special Olympics Provincial Summer Games in Mississauga, Canada, used the OralID device to screen athletes.

The Special Olympics events were hosted on Friday, July 13. All athletes competing had the opportunity to receive free oral cancer screenings from the 'Special Smiles' discipline of the Healthy Athletes' program.

Special Smiles is responsible for improving access to dental care for people with special abilities. At the Special Olympic games, the team of volunteers screened with the OralID device to make sure that as many participants as possible were receiving the preventive care they needed. With 1,500 athletes competing in the games, approximately 40 hygienists and dentists performed screenings on a population whose oral health habits may not be practiced every day. Volunteers wanted to examine as much of the patients' tissue as possible.

"It's really enlightening as a practitioner. Many of these athletes have behavioral and cognitive understanding issues, so it is very challenging, but they are very optimistic and pleasant to be around." said Hamid John, the clinical director of the ‘Special Smiles’ team. "We were trying to look at as much tissue as possible with OralID, ensuring quality care for the athletes."

Located in the most highly trafficked area of the Special Olympics, the oral health team also gave out toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouth guards, fluoride varnishes, and other hygiene products in addition to giving instruction on proper ways to floss and brush. 'Healthy Athletes' and 'Special Smiles' are dedicated to changing the way health systems interact with people who have intellectual disabilities.

“This is what it is all about,” said Robert J. Whitman, CEO of Forward Science. “Our goal, when creating OralID, was to be able to offer the life-saving technology into an easy to use and portable device, along with having the ability to screen patients around the world! We are happy to be able to partner with organizations, like the Special Olympics, and hope to continue to do so for many years to come!”

Forward Science is a biotechnology company based in Houston, Texas. OralID, is an award winning oral cancer screening device that allows clinicians to discover abnormalities that may not be seen under traditional white light examinations. Forward Science has also launched advanced diagnostic tests (CytID, hpvID, phID, PathID) and treatment options (SalivaMAX, SalivaCAINE).

To learn more about the Special Olympics, please visit www.SpecialOlympics.org.