Smiles transcend time and place. We would know. We get to see a lot of them.
“If you see a bright smile, healthy teeth and gums, you know the child is feeling good and so you know that probably there’s not much going on,” says Terry Laura, Compassion Health Advisor. “You know that the child has been taking care of his teeth.”
Children in Compassion’s program, with help from the local church, are taught proper hygiene and undergo regular medical screenings including a mouth exam.
“If anything is identified during the health screening that needs to be followed up on, usually the local church has relationship with providers in the area,” says Laura. “If the local church doesn’t have the resources, than Compassion will step in and provide through complementary interventions.”
Here in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, children are undergoing a dental checkup. Health professionals are visiting the child development center to provide screenings for the children.
“We all know that when we have pain in some area of our body, we can’t focus, we can’t concentrate on anything else because that pain really takes precedence,” Laura explains. “Maybe as a child we want to concentrate on our books but we can’t.
“Many of our children see their first toothbrush when they come [here],” she continues. “It’s not that we’re just impacting that child but we’re impacting that child’s sibling and extended family.”
Whether in Africa, Central America, South America or Asia, our children’s smiles mean the same thing: a small but real sign that children are being released from poverty in Jesus’ name.