For the children of Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest and most underdeveloped countries, life is tough. Many deal with malnutrition and disease due to poor access to clean water and sanitation, as well as family breakdown due to the high prevalence of HIV. Most of the kids also suffer from tooth decay because sugary foods are cheap and sweetened beverages are often a safer alternative to drinking water.
Humble Smile, IADS and Sunshine Approach joined forces to form a voluntary team made up of dental students from around the world together with local outreach workers who underwent training to become oral health educators.
Two primary schools, an orphanage and a shelter for child victims of human trafficking were targeted for the preventive program, which focused on habit change and included introduction of toothbrushing to the daily school routine, handwashing, and educating to healthy nutritional choices.
All of the 1274 children reached were screened for oral disease, and hundreds of cavities were treated with Silver Diamine Fluoride.
The team shared ideas for preventive upstream strategies with policy makers.
Representatives from the Ministry of Health and the ISCTEM Dental School visited and helped out at
the project sites. Together with the Ministry of Education, these partners will all be part of a scaled-up
Sunshine & Smiles in 2017.
The bad news is that our survey showed that: 33% of the kids felt discomfort with their teeth in the last 12 months; 26% had difficulties with biting hard foods; 18% avoided smiling because of their teeth, and; 9% 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; Soapbox, and Sunshine Nut Company.