There are only 0.04 dentists for every 10,000 Nicaraguans. As a result, most people only go to the dentist when they have an abscessed tooth. This lack of basic dental care affects overall health, as scientists have discovered, linking healthy mouths to healthier bodies. Daily flossing can add 6.4 years to your life and lower heart disease and diabetes!
Good oral hygiene starts in the family and as a child… but the Nueva Vida dental clinic sees 10-year-old children losing their permanent molars to decay. In partnership with the organization ORPHANetwork, which supports feeding centers up and down the western coast of Nicaragua, the dental clinic attends children from 20 plus feeding centers from far away – as far north as Matagalpa and as far south as Rivas.
For most of these children, the clinic repairs their teeth and provides preventive care. When the clinic has toothbrushes, tooth paste, and dental floss, all patients receive them along with instructions on when and how to brush their teeth.
The dental clinic’s preventive care comprises approximately 65% of all procedures: cleanings, sealants, and fluoride as well as x-ray capabilities for better diagnosis. Classes on how to maintain healthy mouths are taught locally and in schools.
Not only does the clinic’s full-time dentist and two dental hygienists attend these children, they also attend the general public of Ciudad Sandino. In 2018 the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health closed their clinic in Ciudad Sandino due to lack of funds; this has greatly increased the number of patients that the dental clinic serves, which has also increased the number of extractions that have been performed in the past two years. However, we are teaching these new patients to return for regular cleanings and check-ups.
To keep up with the enormous workload, volunteer dentists and hygienists are most welcomed to come and serve. If you are a dental professional who wants to give one week or more weeks of your time, please contact the dental clinic through the Nueva Vida Clinic’s administrator.