Smile Grant recipients from Cambodia and Croatia deliver safe oral healthcare despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic

FDI member_Cambodia Dental Association

In 2020, the Cambodia Dental Association's "Healthy Kids Cambodia" project has reinforced its protocols for group toothbrushing and hand washing.

FDI is now accepting applications for the FDI Smile Grant. The award serves to support and promote preventive oral care at the local level.

About the FDI Smile Grant

The grant, valued at US$5000, recognizes FDI member national dental associations (NDAs) that are currently implementing innovative and sustainable community outreach projects to improve oral health outcomes in their countries.

The award is given each year to two applicants for their original projects. In 2020, the Cambodian Dental Association and the Croatian Dental Society were each presented with a Smile Grant. The Cambodian Dental Association was awarded for its Healthy Kids Cambodia project, which aims to provide a sustainable and integrated approach to primary healthcare (with a special focus on oral care) for underserved children in schools and communities across Cambodia.

The Croatian Dental Society was awarded for its pilot project, Supervised toothbrushing in kindergartens and primary schools, with the aim to improve oral health and implement healthy behaviours from early childhood. This supervised toothbrushing programme implements regular oral hygiene and health education workshops in order to decrease the prevalence of caries in children around the country and strengthen collaboration between the education system and public health.

Healthy Kids Cambodia: a 2020 update

Many children in Cambodia suffer from oral disease, which severely impacts their oral-health-related quality of life. Although there is a growing number of dentists in Cambodia,very little care is available for children in the government system and less than 1% of children receive any restorative care. The Health Kids Cambodia project gathers a network of governmental and non-governmental agencies, including the Cambodian Dental Association, that use evidenced-based guidelines to deliver dental care to 20 schools in Phnom Penh and in four provinces.

The Cambodian Dental Association has been involved with the project since its launch in 2015. Given that dental students from the main government dental school have few opportunities to practice preventive dentistry in the field, the Cambodian Dental Association became more involved in the project, organizing dental treatment at target schools in Phnom Penh so that more dental students could be exposed to prevention-oriented dental care.

In 2020, the project team has been able to address most of the needs in their target communities in a safe way during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have compiled a stock of face shields so that when they go back to the field, the practitioners and the families they care for will be protected. To prepare to safely visit the schools, the team has been reinforcing its protocols for group toothbrushing and hand washing. In the meantime, the team was able to conduct inter-professional training on early childhood caries for nurses and midwives in primary healthcare settings.

The Croatian Dental Society's pilot project moves online in 2020

The Croatian Dental Society’s pilot project aims to make daily toothbrushing available to kindergarten and primary school children. For many children, this may be their only opportunity to brush on a regular basis.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, national standards have been developed on supervised toothbrushing in schools, which stress the importance of infection prevention and control and aim to minimize the risks associated with toothbrushing and keep it safe. In addition, to reach as many children as possible in spite of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, the Croatian Dental Society organized its first online supervised toothbrushing workshop in September 2020.


Smile Grant application and eligibility requirements

FDI encourages all interested FDI member NDAs to apply. Please consult the FDI Smile Grant page for application guidelines and more information on past projects.

Don’t delay – applications are due by 1 February 2021.

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