The Problem

NEJM, June 5, 2014; 370 (23):2246-48

NEJM, June 5, 2014; 370 (23):2246-48

If you look at the global representation of access to dentistry, the WORST dental situations in the world are those in Deep Purple, and there is only ONE country in the ENTIRE WESTERN HEMISPHERE that is that color – Haiti (see arrow). Look also at the Dominican Republic (DR) right next door. Notice that it is one of the best dental situations in the world. So Haitians have only 1 dentist for >200,000 people, while D.R. and the U.S. have one dentist for <3,000 people. This demonstrates the dire public health need that BHH is serving, and this message supports the urgency of our mission.

The facts:

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    Haiti has roughly 1 dentist for every 200,000 people. Many of these dentists are only in big cities or are temporary volunteers.

  • Compared to the US with 1 dentist for every 1000 people
  • Even the clean Haitian Water sources don’t have fluoride to strengthen teeth
  • Diets including chewing sugar cane and other high-sugar foods cause decay
  • With little to no income, necessities like toothpaste don’t take priority. But, even when they do, they are often cheap and ineffective.
  • Most people don’t understand the seriousness of Tooth Decay.
  • Bacteria from a tooth abscess can be fatal
  • It is not only painful and unaesthetic but also compromises ability to eat, sleep, and function in day-to-day life.
  • A rotten smile can effect employment and earnings, self-esteem, and overall health.
  • Though Tooth decay is rampant in Haiti, it is largely Preventable, and you can make a difference

See recent USA Today article outlining these issues with children and tooth decay: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/03/02/cavities-children-teeth/5561911/

It is clear that Dental Care is an area of healthcare largely overlooked even in the US—imagine then, how much greater the need must be in Haiti!

Stay Informed!