Brighter Smiles, Brighter Hopes
Dili, Timore, Indonesia — When his parents, in desperation, finally took four-year-old David for help, his face was swollen beyond recognition. The little boy was in agony: he couldn’t eat, wouldn’t play, had cried and complained of a terrible toothache for days. As a newly emerging nation, the medical facilities in Timor Leste are fledgling. Many people have no access to clinics or medical personnel when they are sick or need dental care.
But Dr. Jay Angeles, wife Jennie, and their team of volunteers are putting smiles back on the faces of Timor’s sick and needy. “We regularly conduct free medical and dental clinics, especially in the far-flung areas up in the mountains and in the island (Atauro),” Dr. Jay reports. “We’ve even been to places where we were the very first medical personnel the people have ever seen.”
But this day, David is fortunate that Dr. Jay is at home in Timor’s capital city, Dili. An examination is quick to reveal acute periapical infection—a badly infected tooth. After giving David antibiotics to clear up the infec- tion, pain relievers to make life bearable once again, and anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce the little boy’s swell- ing, Dr. Jay sends the family home. In a few days, when David returns to have his tooth extracted, his face is back to normal, as are his appetite, his mood, and his behavior.
Oral disease is one of the most costly—yet largely preventable—chronic diseases in developing areas of the world. Untreated tooth decay affects health and quality of life immediately (pain; inability to chew and eat, leading to nutritional deficiencies; increased infections; greater susceptibility to illness; disfigurement; psychological distress) while setting the stage for additional health problems later—including heart disease.
90% of Third World children’s cavities go untreated.
With support from Asia’s Little Ones, Dr. Angeles’s team is doing more than treating oral diseases: they’re helping prevent them! Educational programs in various schools and com- munities as well as distribution of tooth- brushes and oral hygiene kits are improving the way kids and their families take care of their teeth. Most have never before brushed their teeth.
With the help of ALO supporters like you, kids in Timor have brighter smiles. But even better, they have brighter hope for a good future.