Looking out the airplane window, on about the twelfth hour of a fourteen hour flight to Ethiopia, the hazy streak
Having adequate oral hygiene is paramount for a person’s overall health. It encompasses a range of diseases and conditions that include dental caries, Periodontal disease, Tooth loss, Oral cancer, Oral manifestations of HIV infection, Oro-dental trauma, Noma and birth defects such as cleft lip and palate. Dental problems can drastically worsen over time and end up causing systemic body reactions. Improving an area’s access to immediate oral hygiene and sustainable oral education is paramount in developing an area’s overall health.
There is a proven relationship between oral and general health. It is reported, for example, that diabetes mellitus is linked with the development and progression of periodontitis. Moreover, there is a causal link between high sugars consumption and diabetes, obesity and dental caries. There is a significant need to increase oral health capabilities across all borders. That is why International Medical Relief (IMR) dental clinics run simultaneously with our medical clinics where patients frequently visit both. When our teams deploy, our dental teams can include dentists, dental assistants, hygienists, and dental/pre-dental students.
Dental hygiene and oral health are often taken for granted but are essential parts to everyday lives. Dental examinations, cleanings, fluoride treatments, and extractions are the primary procedures, and oral health education is provided to all patients. All care provided is performed free of charge with sustainable education as a major pillar. Additionally, all patients that come through the clinic receive their own new toothbrush and floss after receiving care. Our goal is to save teeth in the future by providing oral hygiene education and working with local dental teams whenever possible.
Prior to deploying to a new country, there is a needs assessment where IMR, with the help of the country’s ministry of health and local providers, assess the needs of the area and what dental care should be provided. During this assessment, IMR looks at the countries already existing dental health infrastructure, oral health education, and expected capacities IMR will be able to bring on the medical mission. This allows IMR and the local partners to be able to have the largest impact.
- Severe periodontal (gum) disease, which may result in tooth loss, is also very common, with almost 10% of the global population affected
- Factors contributing to oral diseases are an unhealthy diet high in sugar, use of tobacco and harmful use of alcohol.
- Most oral health conditions are largely preventable and can be treated in their early stages.
Join Us in Making a Difference.
Bring much-needed acute medical and dental care to a beautiful, culture-rich destination. You can join an IMR medical mission team today!