“Almost 10% of the Indian population regularly consume areca nuts, but many are unaware of their harmful effects. Karnataka is the largest producer of areca nuts in the country, and around 16% of the population consume areca nuts. Eating areca nuts causes OSMF, which symptoms include a burning sensation in the mouth, discomfort and difficulty opening the mouth. It can also cause oral cancer in the long term, ”stated MAHE students.
The group members Dr. Priyanka Prasad, Alumni MCODS, Viola D’Souza, PhD student, PSPH, Manipal, Soural Dandothi, Alumni MIT, Dr. Gopal Kasat, Alumni MCODS and Dr. Shriya Verma, Alumni MCODS, have launched a comprehensive web app that educates and creates awareness for OSMF. It was launched on September 1st.
According to Viola D’Souza, the app also wants to involve the audience in order to improve their knowledge of diagnosis, symptoms and treatment options at every stage of OSMF. A person with OSMF can know what stage of the disease they are at and what treatment options are available. “Awareness of the negative effects of consuming areca nuts is limited. There are no health promotion events or awareness-raising campaigns. The disease is preventable, ”says Viola, explaining why they developed the app.
Priyanka Prasad, a dentistry student, says she encountered several OSMF patients and decided to educate the community. “As dentist students, we meet many patients who came to the clinic with complaints about stained teeth, toothache and burning in the mouth. The culprit is high areca nut consumption and people who are unaware of the potential health risks. The app aims to raise awareness and educate the community about OSMF. ”
The team has been working on the app for about six months to make it engaging and provide comprehensive information about the condition that will improve health-promoting behavior. The app can also be used by dentists in their clinics as an educational aid for patients to raise awareness of their patients. It is currently only available in English, but an attempt is being made to bring out versions in different regional languages so that it can reach the masses.