Dental Mavericks making a difference
Aura Infection Control aims to help those in need by donating essential dental supplies to the dental charity, Dental Mavericks.
Dental Mavericks have been taking dental care to impoverished communities in Morocco and Lebanon for the best part of a decade. Successful entrepreneur, Cally Gedge, co-founded the UK-registered charity. She saw, at first hand, the suffering in Morocco where poverty is a fact of life for many.
Although Morocco is a popular tourist destination, poverty is still endemic. In particular in rural areas where children and orphans make a pitiful sight begging for a few pennies from the pockets of wealthy westerners. Infant mortality is still depressingly high compared to other middle ranking countries, as is access to even basic healthcare.
Cally says the paucity of dental care for children and adults alike shocked her. ‘Abscesses and rotten teeth are commonplace,’ she says. ‘They don’t receive education on brushing their teeth or had the tools to do it.
‘The lack of oral hygiene and dental care meant we were seeing primary-school age children. Children have fully decaying lower first molars, decaying front teeth and teeth where only the roots are left. Children have to learn to live with the kind of pain that would be unthinkable in the UK. For them, it’s a fact of life. If they lose a tooth it’s usually a reason to celebrate because it means an end to some of the pain.’
Paving the way for Dental Mavericks
In many communities, even something as simple as a disposable toothbrush is a rarity.
No wonder the standards of oral hygiene are shockingly poor. But Dental Mavericks couldn’t do it alone. Partnerships with other charities and organisations already on the ground have also helped pave the way for the good work.
In Asni, a town in the foothills of the High Atlas mountains near Marrakesh, the Mavericks work with the Eve Branson Foundation (EBF). This is a charity set up by Richard Branson’s mother. It aims to provide young people with valuable skills and training.
Each year, EBF partners with the Dental Mavericks by opening a temporary walk-in clinic in Asni. The temporary clinic is open to young people in local villages and a team of voluntary dentists runs it.
Here, they receive an individual screening, followed by treatments including fluoride, extractions and general dental care. Thanks to a number of dentistry expeditions to the Atlas Mountains, almost 10,000 children have benefited from free dental care.
But that’s not the only successful partnership. Cally explains: ‘In the Rif Mountains we continue our work with Rifcom – a charity focusing on community projects and education. Rifcom has helped the Mavericks go into small villages and gain trust quickly on the back of the wonderful relationships already built.’
Money raised helps pay for staff at a permanent clinic in the mountains. This helps thousands of patients suffering the pain of dental decay. The charity recently received a welcome boost thanks to one of Britain’s leading suppliers of dental decontamination materials and equipment – Aura Infection Control. The company donated a full pallet of essential dental supplies.
As well as leading oral hygiene initiatives, the Mavericks also fly out philanthropic dental teams from the UK anxious to play their part on the front line. They set up mobile clinics in unique outreach programmes.
Michelle Reid, clinical manager of Heath Dental, Solihull, and hygienist Nicole Coomber won sponsorship from cosmetic teeth straightening experts Cfast to join a Dental Maverick charity’s trip to Morocco.
Michelle says: ‘When we were in clinic, the building we used had a wall, a fence and gates and the local people were being let in in stages as there were hundreds wanting to be seen. Those outside were climbing over and under the fences to get in. That’s how desperate they are to be out of pain.’
But the Mavericks programme is all about sustainability – making a lasting difference. ‘The Sustainability Mavericks always leave toothbrushes and toothpaste supplies, and give oral hygiene instruction when we are there,’ adds Michelle.
‘The local school has a toothbrushing programme in place with help from Mavericks, as it is not part of the daily routine to brush teeth. Now, some children are brushing their teeth up to three times a week. This is crazy to think, when we do it twice a day, but it’s improvement.’
Support for all
Of course, none of this would be possible without generous financial and material support back home in the UK. The Mavericks programme has received further support thanks to an innovative partnership between Aura Infection Control and Ultrawave.
Aura Infection Control has launched the new Hygea D3ntal ultrasonic cleaning unit, developed by Ultrawave specifically for dental applications.
As part of Aura’s roll-out plans, every dental practice that buys a Hygea D3ntal to replace a Hygea 2 ultrasonic cleaner will be doing their bit for a good cause. Aura and Ultrawave commit to collate and test machines traded in before giving them to charity.
Laura Edgar, managing director of Aura, said: ‘We thought donating existing equipment is a nice gesture. It can have a second life helping Dental Mavericks. The work the charity does is well known within the industry and we also want to show our support.’
Cally says the equipment is sent to Morocco, for walk-in clinics: ‘This equipment will help us deliver high quality dentistry to more communities where the need is ridiculous. Aura and Ultrawave really are helping us to change habits – and lives – for the better.’