Vietnam Smiles is a project aim to reduce dental decays and oral diseases in underserved communities in Vietnam. After years of treating dental patients in our Mobile Care clinics, the dental team repeatedly witnessed an epidemic of poor oral health in many rural areas of Vietnam. The overwhelming majority of adult patients treated have some form of adult periodontal disease and more than 75% suffered from tooth loss. The children served have little or no dental care. Most do not own a toothbrush, and decay rate is alarmingly high. Tooth decay and dental diseases in children compromise their ability to eat, sleep, and function well at home and at school.
To help solve the problem, Vietnam Smile was established as a supplemental project to SAP-VN Mobile Care. Our goal is to educate the importance of oral health to school age children. We believe that the program will be most successful when it is integrated with a public school, and is on an ongoing basis. After a year of planning and acquiring proper permits, Vietnam Smiles is excited to be partnering with Binh Chanh Elementary school and Thach My Tay High School in An Giang. With the collaboration of Can Tho University of Dental School lead by Dr. Nguyen Minh Khoi, our project successfully began with a day of discussion and training with all the teachers and educators of the 2 schools.
The objective of the training is to provide the teachers with the knowledge and the tools to elevate the well-beings of their students, starting with their oral health. In addition to regular classroom education and activities, SAP-VN will provide these schools with an annual dental screening and treatment. We will also distribute toothbrushes, toothpastes and educational materials on an on going basis to the students, teachers, as well as their families. This year, our hope is to donate 15000 dental kits to the community. We will continue this project for a few years and evaluate the effectiveness of the program. We hope it will reduce the rate of dental cavities and oral diseases that are so prevalent this province.
On 01/27/2018, Dr Khoi Nguyen lead a group of dental students at Can Tho University to meet with 60 teachers from Binh Chanh Elementary School and Thanh My Tay High School. They spent the day discussing the importance of oral health, and provided the teachers with all the tools and knowledge to inspire their students to take better care of their health.
The training seminar was a success. Teachers were attentive and interactive. At the end of the day, both schools agreed on establishing weekly discussions with the students, and they also planned a tentative schedule for the second phase of the project.
On 3/15-3/16/2018, Vietnam Smiles launched a massive two days dental screening and treatments for students at both schools. Lead by Dr. Huan Do and Dr. Khoi Nguyen, a group of 6 dentists, 1 pharmacist, and 40 dental students from Can Tho Dental School were able to screen 1540 students and treated 323 of them. We did restorative works on 135 students, extracted 188 teeth and distributed over 6000 dental kits.
We sincerely thank all of the volunteers and sponsors who have donated their time and resources to this cause. We will continue to do our best with the hope to elevate the well being of the students and their families, starting with a healthy smile.