The dental health situation in many Central and South American nations can best be described as grim. Many families in rural areas earn less than $1,000 per year, which leaves little or no money for even basic dental care like toothbrushes. Although some countries have socialized health care, not everyone has access to dentists. This scenario is compounded by the practice of scraping sugar off the can and the over-consumption of sweets like lollipops. Research has shown links between oral health and overall health, so changing this situation is imperative to improving the well-being of these people.
Sonrisas is not the only organization making a difference. Sonrisas is part of a larger movement toward sustained oral health in developing nations.
“In developing countries in particular, a growing number of development organizations, private foundations and nongovernmental organizations are becoming active in the health sector.”
–World Health Organization Oral Health Strategy
Changing the dental health situation in Central and South America won’t be easy. But with your help and the help of others, steps can be made.