A Stumpf Dental Hygienist Gives Back, One Toothbrush at a Time SENDING HELP TO HONDURAS
Did you know your toothbrush would actually be considered a luxury item by a big chunk of the world?Whether it’s electric, bamboo, or simple plastic, a toothbrush is a sign of prosperity many of us here in America take for granted. If you have the money to purchase a toothbrush, that means you can take care of your health— something out of reach for thousands of kids and adults worldwide. At a TEDx Talk in Stockholm in 2015, Anna Rosling Ronnlund drove this point home when she spoke about Dollar Street, a collection of 30,000 photos from 50 countries revealing how different families live. Toothbrushes were among the items photographed, though what constituted a “toothbrush” varied wildly house to house. A woman in Malawi brushed with her finger, using diluted mud from the wall of her hut as toothpaste. In Burkina Faso, a sharpened stick did the job, while in Liberia one family shared a single toothbrush. In the Philippines, the family photographed had toothbrushes for everyone, but nowhere to keep them. They stacked the pile on a plastic chair because it was the only clean surface in their mud home.
Dana flew in to Tegucigalpa with a group from Shorepoint Church on Nov. 10 and spent six days in a rural village outside the city, teaching more than 150 children all about oral care, applying fluoride treatments (Pulpdent donated fluoride varnish to go along with our supplies), and leading crafts, sports activities, and Bible lessons. In addition to the brushes and toothpaste, Dana and her team passed out food packaged by Feed My Starving Children. It was a moving experience, and one she hopes will make big ripples in the community.
Dana’s generosity seems particularly poignant right now when it’s easy to become so enamored with all of the fancy meals and beautiful gifts. During this time, we often forget the real point of the holidays: being grateful and giving back. Personally, I’m grateful I was in a position to donate some of the supplies Dana wanted and perhaps spare a child the pain of a cavity. I’m also happy to report that we’ve added another dental hygienist to our team. Leeann will join Dana in providing dental hygiene therapy and education on Mondays. It has been heartwarming to see Stumpf Dental grow this year and help more people than ever before. With many of us traveling to visit family this holiday season, we’re running on fewer office hours than usual this month. If you need an appointment we will do our best to accommodate your needs. If I don’t see you until 2020, I hope you have a happy holiday and healthy new year.
Because of situations like these, every year thousands of dentists, dental hygienists, and other oral care
professionals participate in international mission trips to bring dental care to those who can’t access or afford it. I was happy to be able to donate
toothbrushes, toothpaste, and silver diamine fluoride when one of our dental hygienists, Dana Ladewig, told me she was planning to join a mission trip to Honduras.
-Dr. Janelle Ferber-Stumpf
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