Oral Health in Turkey

Oral Health Project Smiles For Syria

Oral Health Preventative Services to Syrian Children Refugees in Reyhanli, Turkey.

The oral health initiative, Smiles for Syria, was launched in January 2020 to make a difference in improving the oral health of the children in Reyhanli, Turkey, with the preventative measures haven well established proven efficacy in other parts of the world. The oral health initiative, which is led by Dr Samira Tayra, Dentist in UK, and in collaboration with a professor from Harvard University, was held in March due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The dental clinic had been running on a daily basis, and approximately 380 children, between the age of 5 and 17, had been seen and received preventative dental treatment by the trained UOSSM Turkey community health workers under the supervision of a local dentist. The goal was to provide dental services to close to 1000 children in a 7 months period.

The project has been very well received in Reyhanli with excellent verbal feedback being reported by parents of the children on a daily basis and a high demand for the services amongst the locals. There has also been great written feedback from the healthcare workers, who have indicated that “the training they received was very useful… and that they feel happy in being able to take part in preventing dental decay in children”.

Each child was provided with:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Fluoride varnish application
  • Glass Ionomer (GIC) Fissure Sealants/ Filling
  • Sliver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) Application

These measures will hopefully resume, in light of the COVID-19 crisis, to improve the children’s oral health and prevent dental problems in the future in a population that is already at high risk with limited access to dental care, with many children never having even owned a toothbrush.

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