Sat | Feb 4, 2023

Senior citizen calls teeth-cleaning a blessing after 15 years

Lauds efforts of Usain Bolt Foundation and SprintRay

Published:Saturday | September 3, 2022 | 12:05 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer


Kingsley Titer, a resident of Sherwood Content, Trelawny, will be smiling much more brightly after having waited 15 years for a dental cleaning, which he got last Sunday, during a dental health fair courtesy of legendary sprint star Usain Bolt and United States-based dental and technology company, SprintRay.

Titer, 73, was one of more than 150 residents of Sherwood Content, Bolt’s hometown, to benefit from the health outreach initiative, which was held at the Waldensia Primary and Infant School, of which Bolt is a past student. The event was also held in collaboration with representatives from The University of the West Indies Mona School of Dentistry.

“The community and I are very grateful for this because dental hygiene is a necessity in our community. As you see the crowd here, you can appreciate that there are many people who thank the Bolt Foundation for sponsoring this health fair for us,” said Titer, referencing the Usain Bolt Foundation, which was started by the athlete and which put on the weekend-long programme.

A justice of the peace in Sherwood Content, Titer acknowledged that he recognised his need for a dental check-up several weeks prior to the health fair, which started on Saturday.

“My teeth had not been cleaned for many years, and a couple of weeks ago, I was looking at my teeth and said, ‘Well, I need to have these cleaned.’ Then I heard about this event, and it has been a blessing,” Titer told The Gleaner.

“I came here [on Saturday] and set my name down, then came back [Saturday] evening, and they told me to come back. [On Sunday], I got here at 7 a.m., and it is now after 12 noon, but it is worth it,” Titer added. “My mouth feels fresh, my mouth feels better, my mouth is saying something to my throat, and I am grateful for that. The service being rendered in this community is highly appreciated, and we thank God for this endeavour.”

The dental health fair saw SprintRay’s team of doctors teaching the residents about the importance of proper dental hygiene, including proper brushing and flossing techniques and the need for regular dental check-ups. Parents in attendance also got back-to-school items for their children, including school bags, pencils and pens.

The event was also attended on Sunday by members of the daCosta Cup football team from the William Knibb Memorial High School, of which Bolt is also a past student. Bolt, who was on the grounds of his old school on Saturday, said he was pleased to be able to spearhead the initiative, having benefited from similar outreach as a child.

“The moment I signed with SprintRay we decided that it was important to leverage the relationship so as to allow my community and others to benefit. I remember as a child being exposed to dental care through a similar outreach like this one, so when the opportunity presented itself for me to bring back such a programme to Sherwood it was a no brainer for me,” Bolt told GoodHeart.

The world record holder and Olympic champion shared that more projects and partnerships are in works for his eponymous foundation. “We have a number of projects in the pipeline to launch, but the most immediate project is with Epson to launch printers in schools. A continuation of last year’s project that we did with the minister of education,” he said.

Dr Biney Annie Thomas, a lecturer from the Mona School of Dentistry, said several services were provided during the health fair, such as cleanings and extractions. Tooth guards were also distributed to people who grind their teeth while sleeping at night.

“We have given away some oral health packages, which includes toothpaste, toothbrushes, and floss, for children and adults. We are also doing night-guards for patients, which are recommended for those who have night time teeth grinding,” said Thomas. “We saw 80 patients [on Saturday], and so we have to see how far we can go today, but the focus is mostly on the children.”

Arun Subramony, SprintRay’s chief financial officer, described the weekend visit to Waldensia Primary and Infant School as an honour to serve residents at Bolt’s alma mater.

“We are delighted to partner with the Bolt Foundation and to come all the way to where Bolt was born, where he was raised, and where he went to school. There are a lot of precious memories attached to this school, and we thought it would be an amazing opportunity to help the community,” said Subramony.