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SF, MOH, Great Shape Inc provide oral health education to TCI schools

This is how I brush my teeth seems to be the message that this student is sharing with the Sandals Foundation and Great Shape! Inc volunteer.

More than 2000 students from 13 schools in Turks and Caicos Islands were given a greater chance at fighting and preventing cavities, after the Sandals Foundation, Ministry of Health and Human Services Dental Unit and Great Shape Inc, brought their school-based oral health education preventative programme to the schools recently.

“Oral health is a very important part of overall proper health, and even more critical for children as they develop healthy habits. We must ensure that the proper dental hygiene is taught to children as early as possible, and where necessary, provide preventative services such as sealants to help prevent future damage to their teeth. Our partnership with Great Shape! Inc has, for the past decade, brought health care services to hundreds of thousands across the Caribbean, and that is something we are proud of,” said executive director of the Sandals Foundation, Heidi Clarke.

Two students along with one of the Sandals Foundation and Great Shape! Inc share smiles with the new oral health information that was shared

Principal of the Enid Capron Primary School, Sophia Garland while expressing gratitude for the new information being shared to her students highlighted the long term benefits for the children.

Said Garland: “Every student was able to benefit in a tangible way from the information and materials being shared on improving their oral health. The different professionals shared with them basic habits that will ensure that they can enjoy a healthier oral lifestyle. The parents have expressed their satisfaction with the new information that their children received from the volunteers with helping them improve their oral health habits.”

In addition to the oral health education, each student received toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, dental floss and lessons on how to properly care for their teeth. Ministry of Health dental nurse Kenesha Lewis shared her satisfaction with the quality information that the students received.

“The students were also taught how eating certain unhealthy foods, improper brushing and lack of flossing could damage their teeth and affect them in the future. As a team we were able to impact students in all the government primary schools in Providenciales which we are sure will help in the better care of their oral health as they get older,” Lewis shared.

Dr Susan Delpeche, Dental Surgeon of the Turks and Caicos Islands Government Dental Clinic noted, “This type of outreach has been phenomenal, considering that access to proper dental care is not affordable for many of our students. The volunteers are all great individuals, and our hearts swell with appreciation for the work they have done. The infusion of brighter smiles brought about by Great Shape! Inc 1000 Smiles and the Sandals Foundation has been a wonderful experience.”

his student shares with one of the Sandals Foundation and Great Shape! Inc the correct way to brush her teeth

Dr Suzanne Baptista, her husband Phillip and their two sons, first-time volunteers to Great Shape! were eager to share with the students at the different schools. Though the children were missing physical school sessions, they were engaged through the virtual learning platforms and had the chance to share with children their own ages, the value of proper oral health.

“The team of volunteers here are very respectful and professional and the next generation of volunteers who came were amazing. I just love them all. Before I begin a presentation in each class I would explain why it is important to practice proper oral hygiene and how to prevent cavities. The end result is always the best. They offer the most precious hugs and smiles,” said Dr. Baptista.

Kris Ann Foster, grade 4 student at the Thelma Lightbourne Primary school shared, “The presentation from these volunteers was very informative for the children at my school. They included us in their presentations and demonstrated to us how to take care of our oral health. We have been learning this in our classes but the way that the dentists shared it, made it more fun and easier to understand.”

Smiles - because I know more about oral health education from Sandals Foundation and Great Shape! Inc

During the two weeks, 42 volunteers shared in the oral health education programme at the schools. The message of good oral care was shared with all classes at the schools. The Great Shape! Inc Programme was launched in Jamaica in 2003, led by Great Shape! Inc Executive Director Joseph Wright. “Our project is a preventative one. Our mission is to go into the schools to reduce or prevent cavities, and having educators and dentists sharing with the children is a proven and cost-effective way to do that,” Wright said.

The Sandals Foundation and Great Shape! Inc partnership has provided eye care and dental services to over 300,000 people in Jamaica, St Lucia, Grenada, and Turks and Caicos.



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