Children without Cavities
Over half of the population in the highlands of Bolivia do not brush their teeth and almost all school children have cavities; many have toothache and some have infections. There are few health centres in remote regions of the Bolivian highlands and so our mobile units provide dental treatments for locals and teaches children in school how to brush their teeth and prevent cavities.
Reduce the number of school children with cavities and prevent further cases by building healthy habits and good oral hygiene practices.
In the villages of the Bolivian highlands, the nearest dentist is often far away and can only be reached after walking for many hours. People do not know how important it is to keep their teeth and mouth clean and that poor dental hygiene can have disastrous effects on their general health. Many locals have switched to sweet drinks and junk food instead of local nutritious food and this has had an impact on their oral health. Children are particularly vulnerable as they are being brought up with more sugar in their diet and are not taught by their parents to brush their teeth. Most children have cavities and when they are not treated the bacteria can spread throughout their bodies and cause secondary infections; as a result, many children suffer from heart problems.
We work with the schools and local health facilites on restoring, improving and maintaining oral health to reduce cavities and other secondary diseases in children. Our Suyana 4x4s, which are equipped to provide dental treatment, we make sure that children living in the most remote villages are seen and treated.
We work with the schools on prevention, and we organise courses on oral and personal hygiene as well as healthy nutrition using teaching materials developed by our experts.
The schools set up wash corners and stock them with personal hygiene products and the teachers help the children instil daily hygiene practices, such as brushing their teeth to avoid cavities. After a check-up by the Suyana dentist, those children who no longer have cavities receive a “Zero Cavities” certificate is signed by the government health authorities, which encourages the children to keep up good habits.
Since 2008, 4,676 school children have had their cavities filled. The government health authorities support our work with students by issuing the “Zero Cavities” certificates.
"I’m Andrés from Carijana and I don’t have cavities anymore! I want to say ‘thank you’ to our dentist who encourages me and my classmates to brush our teeth and get checked regularly. We didn’t know how important it is to brush our teeth. Thanks to her, we now know how and when we have to brush our teeth. We couldn’t see a dentist before but now that Suyana comes, we get treatment. I hope they’ll come again next year because we don’t want any of the students to have cavities. My friends and me are waiting for you!"
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