Oral health is an essential part of a child’s overall health & well-being.
Healthy teeth & gums free children from oral pain & discomfort and add to a healthy lifestyle while boosting a child’s confidence and self-esteem.
Instilling good oral care habits in a child’s life can pave the way to a lifetime of benefits.
Spreading awareness among children regarding the importance of regular brushing, flossing and routine check-ups as well as the repercussions caused by poor oral hygiene can help avoid a lifetime of discomfort and damage to their self-esteem.
As per a study done in 2022, tooth decay and dental infections are at an alarmingly high rate among Filipino children. The lack of awareness towards oral care, substituting oral care products with cheaper replacements & financial restrictions that stop them from making a trip to the dental clinic are among the factors that influence the negligence of oral health.
Although the government is taking measures to reduce these numbers through school-based dental clinics and other measures, there remains a need for further assistance.
As part of our pledge to complete seven projects in celebration of WAOConnect’s 7th Anniversary, the WAO Impact Philippines team set out, this March to spread awareness and help 150 children at the Paligawan Matanda Health Center in a rural area of the Philippines.
The project aimed at creating awareness among 150 children in oral care & the repercussions of poor oral health. The program also included the application of fluoride while gifting them with hygiene kits.
The children were aged between 5 – 7 years and were from kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 2.
“It was an absolute eye-opener for us. As little as they were, we could see their attentiveness and curiosity to learn about oral health and the benefits of adopting healthy habits,” said WAOConnect, Assistant Project Leader, Roizan Ponce-Batocael.
Instead of presenting them with a set of do’s and don’ts, we decided to get them to actively participate in the session to make it more interesting & memorable. We made the awareness session interactive by asking them what they did and what they thought was good and bad habits.
Needless to say, it was quite interesting to hear their thoughts and questions. From a tiny tot saying that candy was good for the teeth to more curious questions like “Does eating fruits & vegetables include chillies?” were among what they had to say.
The most fascinating of all was how well-behaved the little ones were, which indicated their interest and enthusiasm to be a part of the event.
The fluoride application was carried out successfully, and the hygiene kits were distributed among them too.
It was a joyful site to see the happiness and excitement on their hopeful faces to receive their very own oral care kit, which included toothpaste & other dental products that seemed foreign to some children. Especially since families in rural areas in the Philippines were known to use substitutes such as salt and other commonly available products to brush their teeth.
Our team took the time to interact with them and make the event as much memorable and impactful as possible. We made sure to stress the importance of regular visits to the dentist too.
The day ended on a positive note as we left the health centre with a sense of fulfilment and happiness but most importantly thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this great initiative.
Knowing the impact we made in the lives of 150 children, knowing that we may have influenced them to adopt a healthier lifestyle, was indeed satisfying.