As part of its ongoing commitment to community health, Esperança visited students at the Head Start Program in Murphy School District to raise awareness around behaviors that promote a healthy smile and build the foundation for healthy dental hygiene habits to be carried throughout life.
Xochitl Wilson, manager of family programs, stressed the importance of dental health as part of an overall wellness program.
“What I have observed is the lack of knowledge many of our students have on the frequency of tooth brushing, seeing a dentist and how often a toothbrush should be disposed of,” says Wilson. “It leads me to pose the question, do dental care providers take the time to teach kids how often and for how long they should be brushing and flossing? That’s why it is so important that Esperança brings these important messages to our communities.”
Oral Health Education has been a part of Esperança’s curriculum since the inception of the Domestic Program in 2000. There is often a gap in vital health education, especially around oral hygiene. As a health education provider, Esperança fills in the gap by informing children and families in the Phoenix area how oral health effects overall health.
In 2019 alone, more than 4,000 adults and children have benefitted from Esperança’s oral health education. In addition to oral health knowledge, participants also receive a Smile Bag, filled with a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss.
Derived from the Portuguese word for “hope,” Esperança has been dedicated to transforming lives since its inception in 1970. Globally, the nonprofit works within some of the poorest communities in Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mozambique and Peru, providing health education, food security, disease prevention, access to clean water, ecological home-building and life-altering surgeries. Further, the organization also serves under-resourced children, adults and seniors in Maricopa County through programs such as oral health, chronic disease prevention and management, nutrition, and parent ambassador training.