Dental Health

Oral health is essential to general health and well-being and greatly influences quality of life. It is defined as a state of being free from mouth and facial pain, oral diseases and disorders that limit an individual’s capacity in biting, chewing, smiling, speaking and psychosocial well-being.

Oral health also affects a person’s self-esteem, school performance, and attendance at work or school. Oral diseases—which range from cavities and gum disease to oral cancer—cause pain and disability for millions of people.

In 2015, SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda initiated an oral health project aiming at improving tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste among school going children in schools as a key recommendation in evidence-based guidelines for caries prevention as there is overwhelming evidence that long-term exposure to low concentrations of fluoride is associated with a clear reduction in dental caries.

An assessment three year later showed great improvements. Children with pain or any other problem in the mouth dropped from 44% to 7%, visible dental caries (DMFT) reduced from 45% to 16% whereas caries to the nerve (PUFA) dropped from 16% to 4%.

In the community the project supports vulnerable families enrolled into the Family Strengthening Programme and provides capacity building in oral health care and oral disease prevention to Community Based Organizations such as Friends of Families (Inshuti z’Umuryango), community health workers and teachers.

The project supported financially the very first National Oral Health Strategic Plan 2019-2024 and is advocating in partnership with the University of Rwanda for oral health research.

The project is funded by the Danish Organization of dentists, Hygienists and therapists and Dental Health without Borders (Tandsundhed Uden Grænser).


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