PR – After a week of volunteering in Grenada, Oral Surgeon Dr. Amin Alibhai shared, “The need is great. I would love to provide these services again in Grenada. It has been a humbling experience.” The need is exists, with an almost overwhelming response from the general public- the three weeks of free dental care organized by US/Canada- based Great Shape! Inc., Ministry of Health Grenada, and the Sandals Foundation, served over 2000 persons. Of the core services provided, 34% of the patients were provided with cleanings, another 38% received fillings, and 28% required extractions. The oral surgeons also did extensive restorative work, even so far as to perform a total of 17 root canals.
The free clinic, which aimed at improving the dental and overall health of individuals through services and dental hygiene education, was fully embraced by and aligned with the goals of the local Ministry of Health & Wellness. According to Senior Dental Surgeon, Dr. Julie DuBois, “We are appreciative of the generosity of the volunteers. A project like this creates a buzz around oral health and will lead to more education, and awareness around keeping our teeth clean, and our diet, good or bad habits that affect our health. For those who may not have accessed the free services, we hope this inspires them to visit a local dentist soon. Oral health is often overlooked but it may be an excellent indicator of other important health concerns. ”
Among the health concerns identified, was a high rate of cavities and tooth decay in children. Dr. Leann Skoronski, a renowned Canadian Pediatric Dentist and Great Shape! volunteer, shared this may be owing to high consumption of sweets, “Good oral hygiene begins at home. Parents should instill the good habits for preventative care and limit their child’s consumption of sweet eats and drinks that are harsh on their delicate milk teeth.”
Looking onward to 2023, Great Shape! and the Ministry of Health plan to deliver a children’s protective sealant program; and to reach more children and adults in the sister isles Carriacou and Petite Martinique. The Sandals Foundation and Sandals Grenada Resort will continue to support this important and unique health initiative. Hotel Manager, Stuart Jones shared, “What an honor it is to be part of an organization that gives back in such a big way empowering and educating our very own people. It was truly our privilege to host these dedicated volunteers and again, we extend utmost gratitude to them.”