Promoting oral health for children in Brazil through dental exams, treatment and education
Only 3.8 per cent of 5-year-old children growing up in Brazil are cavity free. Dental care is so difficult to access that 2.5 million teenagers have never visited the dentist. When there’s barely enough money for food and clean water, parents can’t afford oral hygiene visits for their children—ultimately leading to tooth decay, disease and malnutrition. Oral health is an integral part of a child’s overall health and well-being.
Impoverished children who have never had the chance to visit a dentist in Santo Antonio, Brazil, suffer from chronic pain, making it difficult for them to attend school and their local Compassion centre. Oral disease can mean the difference between a child succeeding in school or dropping out. Bad breath and visible cavities caused by poor dental health can lead to poor self-esteem and social difficulties among adolescents who don’t have the knowledge or tools to practise daily hygiene habits.
Children’s oral health can be effectively monitored and treated through a combination of personal, community and professional action. Prevention begins at home, so we wanted to equip parents and children to take charge of their own health by teaching good eating and brushing habits and providing personal oral hygiene kits. We also wanted to offer the children dental exams, fluoride treatment and restorative procedures like fillings and extractions as needed. Compassion believes that every child deserves dental care so they can enjoy good health and share their smile with the world.
Thank you for partnering with our church partner in Santo Antonio, Brazil to enrich both the physical and emotional health of 264 beneficiary children through critical dental education and treatment. Upon receiving your generous gift of funding, the intervention specialist, centre director and pastor met to decide next steps. Right away, the church and Compassion centre mobilized local resources to augment your gift, ensuring the intervention could serve the most children possible.
Parents attended the first meeting to learn how to implement daily oral hygiene habits and to hear about upcoming steps in the intervention process, from dental evaluations to dentist appointments at a clinic for children needing further treatment. Each child was given their own oral hygiene kit including a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash and dental floss, so they could put their new skills into practice at home.
A health care professional from the church volunteered to present hygiene workshops, along with dental evaluations and fluoride applications. Next, we partnered with professionals from a dental clinic to perform more complicated oral health procedures within the budget. Thankfully, the church was able to do even more than the initial plan by offering dental services to the family members of some beneficiaries, too!
Children requiring further dental care were referred to the dental clinic following their initial assessment. In total, the clinic provided 190 dental prophylaxis appointments (to remove plaque and prevent decay and gum disease), 64 dental restorations, eight extractions and three pulpotomies (to restore infected baby teeth).
A big challenge at the beginning was motivating parents to take their children to the dental clinic for their scheduled appointments and treatments. In response to many missed appointments, centre staff supplied cars to pick up children and parents at their homes and drive them to the clinic. It was challenging at times, and some appointments had to be rescheduled to a Saturday for parents working during the week. But for the glory of God, all the boys and girls who needed treatment were attended to! Throughout this intervention, staff thanked God that He was always with them and helped them each step of the way.
Hygiene training: Girls and boys participated in an educational workshop to learn about dental hygiene, like how to brush their teeth effectively at home. They put their new knowledge into practice with their personal hygiene kits.
Personal hygiene kits: Children and youth were eager to receive their own toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash and dental floss to bring home and use each day.
Dentist day: Most children visited a dental clinic for the first time in their lives. Dental treatment included fluoride application, diagnostic exams and corrective treatment for those with cavities or chronic pain.
Your Gift Provides...
Your generous gift restored smiles to 264 children through oral hygiene education and treatment, including:
• Dental treatment and diagnostic exams for 264 children
• Corrective treatments (prophylaxis, restoration, extraction and pulpotomy)
• Oral hygiene kits (toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash and dental floss)
• Educational materials and workshops
ReportA message from those your gift helped
I used to suffer from toothache. Sometimes I couldn’t sleep at night, and I was ashamed to smile at people. I really like eating ice cream, but I couldn’t because my tooth hurt. My family couldn’t afford dental treatment and the health centre didn’t have a doctor to see me.
Since going to the dentist, I’m very happy because I was able to receive help for my teeth. This intervention was very good. Now I can smile because people won’t laugh at me—and I don’t have a toothache anymore.
Now I’m happy and I love to smile. I can eat without fear of pain. I have learned the importance of taking good care of my teeth by brushing them every day.
Thank you. I thank God so much for what you have done for my teeth.
ReportThank you for your generosity
Good dental health directly contributes to physical and emotional health—so thank you for investing in the dental health of 264 children and youth in Brazil so they can be free of pain and filled with confidence and joy.
Thanks to your generous gift, 264 beneficiaries and even some of their family members received dental evaluations, fluoride applications and corrective treatment for advanced bases—including prophylaxis, extractions and fillings. Parents and children participated in an educational workshop on dental care at home and prevention of oral diseases. To accompany the training, children also participated in classroom activities like videos and colouring pages to help them remember and apply their new knowledge.
Knowing that the church was committed to pursuing healthy, pain-free smiles means so much to the children and adolescents who used to be ashamed to show their teeth. They used to hide their mouths, but now their faces radiate with joy.“The dental action was a blessing in my life because it helped improve my oral health,” says Compassion-assisted beneficiary, Andriele. “Now I don’t feel pain anymore thanks to the dental care and the centre, which gave me this opportunity.”
The church received appreciation and partnership from the community when people noticed their great concern and care for impoverished children and youth that the public powers were not attending to. Taking the time and effort to show special attention to the oral health of vulnerable children has spoken volumes to people in the community. It has been a beautiful manifestation of Christ’s love in their lives. “Nothing is more moving than seeing joy on the faces of these children,” says the church partner in Santo Antonio. The smile changes everything.
Thank you for partnering with this faithful local church in Brazil to ensure the children they serve have healthy teeth so they can focus on growing up to be all God created them to be. You have given them the tools and knowledge to proactively care for their teeth so they can eat, play, learn and grow without pain or shame. Thank you for giving them the dignity of oral health care to restore their beautiful smiles.
ReportA message from a centre director
This intervention has been a milestone for our Compassion centre because many of our beneficiaries have suffered from diseases related to oral problems—but now they are now satisfied with the dental treatment they received. In addition to being free of pain or discomfort in their teeth, it is even possible to notice changes in their relationships. Some children were too shy to communicate but that issue has been resolved.
Through this initiative, the church and centre gained social visibility and new partnerships for the continuity and expansion of this intervention. The intervention helped us develop strategies, create more flexible planning, establish new partnerships and spread the gospel through each action.
The community has benefited in both health and education. It has completely changed the way people perceive oral hygiene and how much it affects their lives in different ways, whether in appearance, functionality, self-esteem, self-care, self-care and more.
This intervention greatly facilitated our ability to minister to beneficiaries. There is no doubt that God’s love is being revealed in their hearts as it allowed people to look at these children with the eyes of Christ, who sees them as belonging to the kingdom of God. In a practical way, we have demonstrated God’s care for each of the children and their families.
Thank you for helping us in this great mission to work for children to experience abundant life in Christ. “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58:8.