Educating Underprivileged Kids about the benefit of good Dental Habits: Anika Walia

Ramnagar  India: August 18th 2018:
I had the most fortunate experience in collaboration with Idea Foundation. I went to the slum areas in Ramnagar A, Warje gaon India which consisted of children aged 5-14 years in their local school (consisting of one room and no tables or chairs) and I also visited a youth club in  Kothrud. (This consisted of young adults aged 15-18 years from low socio economic backgrounds).

I provided education to the underprivileged children in both areas. It was a humbling experience where I had the opportunity to interact with the young brilliants minds of today and teach them the importance of oral hygiene, diet & nutrition, how to brush your teeth, tooth decay, how to look after your teeth (preventive & professional methods), how to take care of basic hygiene and the importance of visiting a dentist.

The day revolved around me teaching them, answering their inquisitive questions, doing activities with them, showing them live demos on 3D models on how to brush your teeth,  teaching them the basic knowledge on our teeth, how to wash your hands etc. I distributed free dental kits (consisting of dental floss, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash), sanitary kits (hand sanitizer, soaps) and stationary kits (pencil, rubbers, sharpeners, stamps, colour pencils). It was upsetting for me to know that the children there didn’t own a toothbrush and had no idea how to brush your teeth or even what toothpaste was.

They had never ever visited a dentist and their parents who had accompanied them had not either. They did not know the importance of diet and nutrition and had no idea on how to wash their hands properly. Most of the children there didn’t even brush their teeth and some were already suffering from tooth decay. To change the mindset of the children, I had to change the mindset of their parents who “didn’t believe in visiting a dentist”. I spoke to their local teacher and parents to convince them to have regular dental checkups at a local dental hospital where I would provide for transport, to and back and provide the dental check up fees

I spoke to their local teacher and parents to convince them to have regular dental checkups at a local dental hospital where I would provide for transport, to and back and provide the dental check up fees.

Anika Walia
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