In the northern Nicaraguan coffee producing community, San Juan de Rio Coco, over 80% of the children suffer from tooth decay. The dentistry available there is limited to extractions. Seeds for Progress, a local organisation committed to advancing education in the schools, invited Humble Smile and IADS to come and help. Humble Seeds – a team of volunteer dental students from around the world together with local dentists and facilitators – was deployed.
The community welcomed the team into their homes, kitchens and school with open arms, allowing the dental students to figure out the cause of the high child tooth decay – the availability of foods and beverages with added sugar – and then design and implement a sustainable preventive school program.
The program included nutritional education and intervention, training teachers, meetings with the parents, advocacy and instituting tooth brushing into the daily school routine. Over 600 children were screened for oral disease, and hundreds of cavities were treated with Silver Diamine Fluoride.
The bad news is that our survey and interviews revealed that a significant number of kids felt discomfort with their teeth, had difficulties with biting hard foods, avoided smiling and missed school because of problems with their teeth. The good news is that they get a second chance at prevention with the eruption of their permanent teeth, thanks to our sponsors: Humble Brush; Plaque HD; Premier; Elevate Oral Care; Colgate