We believe all children and youth should have opportunities for good oral health, especially those that cannot acquire dental care in their own communities. We focus on increasing access to oral health care by expanding the reach of the dental team, making it easier for children and under-resourced communities to get quality dental care which ultimately improves quality of life.
ORAL HEALTH EDUCATION
Focusing on dental education is key to a child’s solid foundation with which to ensure a lifetime free of oral health problems. It promotes health and, engenders awareness of the importance of oral health and oral hygiene practices.
Our successful school programmes and centre-based programmes target early school learners and youth. They provide us with a platform to instil good oral hygiene practices from an early age, and during the formative years. It also allows evaluation of the oral hygiene practices of older children. Brushing techniques, identification of problem areas and oral hygiene practices are covered, together with evaluation of changes in the mouth as primary (milk) teeth are replaced by their permanent successors.
Nutrition plays a vital role in the maintenance of optimal general health as well as the prevention of oral diseases. Nutritional deficiencies reduce the body’s ability to fight infection and disease, as well as having dire consequences on the oral tissues. We focus on emphasising the importance of a balanced diet for children and youth, which fosters healthy living and improved general health.
Nutritional analysis allows us to gauge the overall health of the children which could impact on their oral health status. Once established, we can advise children, scholars and communities on the nutritional benefits of specific diets and how this positively affects oral health. Empowering communities to make healthier choices enhances their general wellbeing.
Establishing the oral health of the child through oral assessments, provides us with a basic needs profile and how we will begin treating his / her condition. Very often, a child will have no knowledge of oral health and oral hygiene practices. Screenings thus play an important role in discovering what needs to be implemented, in order to guide the child onto the path of good and effective oral hygiene.
Aligning ourselves with effective preventative treatments including prophylactic caries(decay)-prevention techniques through fluoride treatments and fissure sealants, sets the child up for optimum oral health as he/she transitions from milk teeth to permanent teeth. Screenings allow us to identify jaw irregularities and oral anomalies at an early stage prompting effective interceptive measures with which to manage them.
Pain and sepsis greatly heightens anxiety in children due to the lack of experience with such afflictions. Overcoming dental anxiety is key to successful curative treatments. Oral pain reduces productivity, general health and an overall sense of well-being, while sepsis can seriously affect health if left untreated. Many children in the under-resourced communities we treat have no experience of dentistry or oral hygiene and as a result, rapid decay has increased dramatically.
Intervention is critical to return the child to optimum oral health. Curative treatments include the extraction of severely decayed teeth and the restoration of salvageable decayed teeth, restoring the child to health. Once the curative treatments have been completed, preventative oral hygiene measures are emphasised and the child is monitored regularly.