Thanks to your help workshops were completed at all the special needs schools on Cozumel Island. The total number of students and adults attending was over 300.
The response was quite positive. Not only had the parents learned to appreciate the value of preventative measures to protect teeth but the students were all talking how much better their mouth felt after brushing. We will continue to encourage them to meet regularly with a dentist, avoid sugary drinks, and brush and floss daily.
Of course the workshop affected each student differently.. We had one student who told us he had an after-school job and wanted to pay using his own money to get treatment on his teeth because his parents couldn't afford to pay for his care. We hope that eventually there will be the funds to pay for care that the family cannot afford.
Our task in the first half of 2023 will be to gather funds to purchase more dental hygiene packets. We have contacted Colgate, Crest, Smile Makers, and American Dental Associaion, but only received 25 toothbtushes and toothpaste from Smile Makers. Any suggestions or assitance you could provide toward this would be appreciated! Once we have the materials, we will begin scheduling workshops at the elementary schools with the poorest neighborhoods being first on the list.
We had a workshop at a public school for special needs children in Cozumel, Mexico.
34 students and 40 parents attended with each student receiving a dental hygiene kit. As before, a local licensed dentist talked about the ways teeth get cavities and what the students and parents can do to prevent them.
The dentist checked each students' mouths for oral problems and recorded any issues for the parents. Unfortunately, she found advanced dental problems for every student.
She also talked about new inexpensive treatments the parents could choose to care for and prevent cavities.
Afterwards, the dentist reported that most of the children would benefit from using electric toothbrushes because they lacked the dexterity to brush manually. We will be investigating sources for donations to buy electric toothbrushes or adaptive brushes in bulk.
We will be looking for a special donation for a 10-year old boy with Hashimoto's disease. This disease affects the thyroid gland and prevents him from absorbing vitamins into his body. As a result he has accelerated tooth decay and gum disease and so he will require regular treatment from the dentist.
We currently have enough dental hygiene kits for one more workshop and are hoping we receive the funding to pay for the programs starting in Q1 2023.
Two workshops were conducted on weekends in September.
The first workshop had 125 children and adults attend. Each child was given a packet that contained a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and fun game to play while waiting. A local licensed dentist instructed the children on where cavities originate and how to prevent them - nutritionally and with proper oral care.While the dentist inspected each child, volunteers checked with each child to ensure they understood how to properly brush and floss.
Each child's name and parent's phone and email were recoreded for followup. For chidren with significant issues (e.g. permanent teeth growing around the primary teeth, gum problems), a local dentist or hygienist will contact the parent to discuss the problem if they were not in attendance.
The second workshop had 77 children and adults attend. Similarly, instruction was given by a local dentist, each child received a professional oral evaluation, and each child received a packet.
We are looking forward to our October workshops!
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