Janice Glenn, Gleaner Writer
NEGRIL, Westmoreland: STUDENTS OF Green Island Primary School in Hanover were on Wednesday treated to free dental check-up and gifts through Great Shape! Inc and Sandal Foundation's community-based free dental sealant programme.
The programme is also in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and is designed to reduce dental cavities in Jamaican children by half.
Several health facilities, as well as schools in Hanover and Westmoreland, will benefit from the programme. Great Shape! Inc volunteers will be leaving most of their dental equipment with local health facilities, thus cutting cost and raising the availability of the sealant programme to as many Jamaican children as possible.
The Gleaner was at the school on Wednesday to watch the sealant programme in action. Yvonne Nelson, a nurse from the Green Island Health Centre, said the programme is beneficial, as she and other health professionals have learnt new techniques and have also been sensitised to new technology in dentistry.
A sealant is a clear liquid material that a dental professional paints on to the surface of permanent molars. The procedure is painless, quick and effectively seals out bacteria that cause cavities. The programme uses sealants and fluoride treatments to cut the occurrence of cavities in half, helping children maintain healthy teeth for life.
The idea for a sealant pro-gramme was developed among volunteers for Great Shape's 1,000 Smiles programme, the world's largest international humanitarian dental project. Since 1000 Smiles' eight-year partner-ship with the Sandals Foundation, the charity arm of Sandals Resorts International, volunteers have observed the powerful benefits of sealants.
Great Shape! Inc dental pro-fessionals have partnered with the Sandals Foundation to train local health professionals to implement and continue the programme in order to promote sustainability.