Have you ever had a toothache? The dull ache, the throbbing, the urgency to get to a dentist right away? But what if there’s no dentist to go to? Can you imagine dealing with the ongoing pain of an abscessed tooth, all while trying to learn and concentrate on your studies?
No wonder something as simple as a toothache can derail a student’s education in Guatemala.
“You may have just as severe problems in North America,” says a dentist who recently served in Guatemala, “but you won’t find the kind of prolonged time frames for suffering. A toothache on Friday will likely be seen that day – at the latest on Monday. Dental pain stories in Guatemala span years and on occasion decades, with access to care simply not available.”
It’s why Impact has incorporated fluoride treatments for Vida students through the Healthier Smiles initiative, it’s why we teach students the value of brushing their teeth through the Health in Action program, and it’s why we’re so thankful for dental teams that come to care for our children’s oral health.
The teams do their best to give the students a positive experience as they examine dental issues – often for the first time – and work on the children’s teeth.
“It is still heartbreaking to see so many kids with really bad oral health,” says one of our dental team members.
“Dental education and prevention is helping with the children,” says another, “but cultural norms and habits take time to change.”
This month we’re inviting you to give health for children in Guatemala. Help us to continue to improve the oral health of students in Vida schools.
Just $35 can provide a nurse for a day for the clinic – these nurses administer the fluoride program and do health checks, including oral health. $60 can provide a day’s worth of medications and medical or dental supplies for the Vida Clinic. You can also help repair and replace equipment needed by our visiting dentists and increase all-around access to oral health.
Together we can create a healthier future for children in Guatemala! Thank you for caring about the health of these children.
(Know any dental practitioners looking to share their skills? Please invite them to check out www.impactminusa.org/medicalmissions. We’d love to welcome more dental teams to adequately provide for the needs of our kids. Their time in Guatemala would make such an impact!)