8407 treated teeth: one smile at a time

8704 teeth of rural Armenian children have been treated thanks to COAF’s free dental services.

In other words, 5325 Armenian children now have a healthier smile.

Having a beautiful and healthy smile often comes from knowledge and maintaining good dental hygiene. The tooth is the only part of the human body that cannot heal itself, so, today we are here to help you refresh some of the best tips of keeping proper oral hygiene and tell you how we have been promoting that knowledge and culture among our students.

On average, 95% of children under 18 have tooth decay in COAF beneficiary communities of Armenia, according to the research of COAF doctors shown in recent years. Considering that dental caries is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions among children in Armenia, 700 children receive free dental services in COAF-beneficiary communities annually.

The impact of Diaspora dentist missions is precious in the development of our programs. Longtime COAF supporter Dr. Robert Bagramian, an Advisory Board Member of AUA Public Health, has been an advisor for our dental programs for many years. Thanks to Dr. Denise Klatchoian, we developed the idea of COAF brushodromes, tooth brushing stations adjacent to cafeterias of rural schools in Armenia. The concept came from a discussion with Dr. Klatchoian, who had told us about the practice of Brazilian dentists in teaching children to take care of their teeth in dental units.

As in rural areas children rarely visit dentists and clean flowing water is scarce, we decided to adopt a similar practical model in the schools, where kids, 1-4 grades receive free balanced food every day in the cafeterias renovated by COAF. To date, we have had 33 brushodromes in remote schools of Armenia.

The concept of a brushodrome has attracted many. A school in Shushi, Artsakh, has established a similar brushodrome and works with COAF occasionally to promote the culture of oral health among the schoolchildren.

The most common reasons for tooth decay are poor oral hygiene, wrong diet, and having a hereditary basis. COAF Health Programs have included services in 15 villages of Armenia since 2009. Besides dental services, we have continuously been raising awareness about oral hygiene through seminars and Healthy Lifestyle programs. Here are some of the tips COAF Health Programs Manager Lusine Sahakyan recommends for a healthier smile:

  • Remember the rule of 2×2! Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes
  • Avoid using food and  drinks that are high in sugar (especially sodas!)
  • Go for a balanced diet, vegetables and fruits like carrots, apples, and celery (these are high in xylitol that prevents tooth decay)
  • Change your toothbrush at least once in every three months

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