Giving Latin America & the Caribbean Something to Smile About
According to the Pan American Health Organization, children in Latin America suffer twice the number of dental cavities than children in North America. Oral health, however, is an issue that remains woefully overlooked and underpublicized.
Jean Paul Laurent revealed that oral diseases are considered the fourth most expensive disease to treat. Only two-thirds of the world’s population has access to oral healthcare. In Latin America and the Caribbean, minority communities living in rural areas are disproportionately impacted by oral diseases.
Unspoken Smiles is a nonprofit dedicated to providing access to quality dental care. Among other initiatives, the organization offers oral health education to children as well as training for young women who wish to pursue a career in dentistry. To date, Unspoken Smiles has served over 7,000 children across eight countries.
“Oral diseases often suggest underlying diseases and are considered to be the fourth most expensive to cure,” Jean Paul Laurent.
Key takeaways & next steps:
At the onset of COVID-19, Unspoken Smiles launched a virtual classroom initiative that enabled children to access quality oral health education from the comfort of their homes. The initiative has been met with considerable success, and Unspoken Smiles hopes to replicate this classroom model on a global scale in 2021.
Laurent announced the organization’s biggest call to action to date: to bring healthcare education, hygiene kits, and preventive services to 1 million children in low-income countries by 2030.