A child's smile impacts Belritiro
Tamara Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Second to none is what a smile from a child may be described as. It warms the heart and lifts the spirit, bringing renewed joy to the day. This moment can, however, be ruined with the presence of cavities and decaying teeth and it is for this very reason dentists from Sweden have strengthened their efforts to prevent and correct this problem.
The Belritiro Basic School was filled to capacity on Tuesday when members from a Swedish dental organisation - A child's Smile - came to conduct an outreach project.
The organisation, which focuses on those aged 0-18 years, was back for a second year after having a warm reception in Kingston. The community of Belritiro was the first of four community stops in the parish of Manchester, and the group has, so far, seen more than 100 children.
The team of six sent to Manchester included one dentist, four dental hygienists and a dental assistant, who conducted teeth cleaning, filling and consultations
"This is a fairly new organisation; we have been around since 2010. We have about 100 members and we just love the experience and we are happy to help these children," stated organisation board member and dental hygienist Janna Lindroos.
With funding provided exclusively by the company and company sponsors, all outreach projects are absolutely free for beneficiaries - from the services offered to the dental hygiene products distributed.
"We realise that things out here are different from how things are in Sweden. In Sweden, dental care up to a certain age is free, so cavities in children are significantly less. Out here, its way more because some persons either don't practise proper dental hygiene or simply cannot afford to visit the dentist ... that's one of the main reasons we wanted to come back to spread awareness and inform persons on the importance of taking care of their teeth," Lindroos told Rural Xpress.
Happy to help
She continued, "We are not paid to do this, this is done in our spare time, but because so many people don't know how to care for teeth and some of the persons who do know can't afford it, we are just happy to come and help."
With several children, parents and guardians happy for the opportunity just before the start of a new school year, it was their wish that more of these initiatives would be conducted in the communities in and around Manchester.
"They are doing a great job and I'm so happy for it. If this could happen all di while so many persons could benefit. Today, I bring mi grandchildren and mi grandniece and grandnephews cause I could not let this pass me," stated Pamela Collins.
Beneficiary, young Michaela James, who came to get a cleaning, felt it would make a world of a difference if the frequency of these projects were possible so all could embrace it, not only children, but the adults as well.
The initiative, organised by one of the largest outreach bodies - Projects Abroad - will see the team over the next few weeks, moving to the communities of New Green, Knockpatrick and Mile Gully.