This week, a team of five professionals from Aspen Dental — three dentists and two hygienists — are travelling Haiti on a one week health care mission. In the town of Jacmel, Haiti, the Aspen team has set up in a cinder block clinic and is providing vital oral care amidst a shortage of water and an unstable power supply.
Here is a post from Marilyn Bartley, RDH, Dental Hygienist at the Aspen Dental practice in Norwalk, CT about her experience.
As dentists and hygienists, we often take for granted that the patients we serve have access to dental care. Every day in my office in Norwalk, CT, I have the opportunity to educate patients on the importance of good oral health. The people we’re serving here in Haiti have no such luxury.
Your dental health is the gateway to your body’s health, and research has linked poor oral health to other serious health infections.
In Haiti, patients suffering from sharp pain in mouth are coming to us at the clinic. Many don’t have the oral hygiene knowledge to properly take care of their teeth and gums – knowledge that is second-nature for hygienists like me, or for those who regularly visit their dentist. Tooth decay and fragile teeth are a common sight this week at the clinic in Jacmel.
Haiti is the poorest country in the world that isn’t located in Africa; it is on the list of “least developed countries” according to the United Nations. Haitians across the island on average live on less than $2 a day, which includes the cost for a home.
Providing oral care is vital to the health of the people we’re seeing here. Without the proper oral care, Haitians don’t just suffer from excruciating pain, but risk their overall health, too.
Check back for more update from Haiti throughout the week.
© 2012, Amanda H.. All rights reserved.