Wisler Saint-Vil, MD; Jaividhya Dasarathy MD
The developing world gets burdened by oral diseases, especially periodontal disease. Poverty, poor living conditions, ignorance and lack of government funding make it worse. In Haiti, dental care is almost non-existent among children and adolescents. 1 dentist serves for every 35,000 Haitians. Periodontal diseases are strongly linked to stroke, heart diseases, cancer and adverse pregnancy related outcomes.
Our goal is to educate children and adolescents about dental hygiene principles to help them prevent dental decay and other periodontal diseases using community resources.
- We conducted an initial survey to gather their baseline knowledge.
- We provided health education conferences about dental hygiene for children and adolescents in different school settings.
- They learned proper brushing techniques, use of appropriate tooth brushes, and were introduced to the principles of flossing.
- Dental kits containing a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss were given to children and adolescents.
Our data showed that a significant gap in knowledge about dental health existed in our population. They were enthusiastic and attended the education sessions to learn about their dental hygiene. Therefore, through community education, knowledge can be improved to prevent periodontal disease.
We are going to conduct a post-intervention survey to determine if our education dental program is successful improving dental health in Dondon. We plan on continuing this work and expanding the dental education program to more schools throughout all Haiti.