U.S. Navy Sailors with Task Force Koa Moana 23 provided dental work for Palauan elementary school students through the School Dental Program in the Republic of Palau, July 18 to Sept. 1, 2023.
The School Dental Program promotes the idea that oral health is an important component to overall health and the importance of integrating oral health efforts into broader public health initiatives.
“We are here in support of Koa Moana, both for the active duty personnel and for the kids at the elementary schools,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Cody Kramer, a native of Lake Havasu City, Arizona and a general dentist with Koa Moana. “We are doing dental work and dental exams, fillings, crowns and whatever else we can to improve their dental health. At the same time, monitoring our Marines for any issues that may come up.”
During Koa Moana, the Navy dental team worked at three elementary schools: George B. Harris Elementary School, Koror Elementary School and Peleliu Elementary School.
“We’re here in Palau working with the School Dental Program to provide dental exams and dental treatment for the local community. It’s for all of the students that attend the schools,” said U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Leianna Adame, a native of Orange County, California and a dental technician with the task force. “To my knowledge, this is the first time Koa Moana has brought a dentist out here for this program and it’s made a huge impact! At Peleliu Elementary, we were able to provide dental exams. We finished all the dental exams and treatment at George B. Harris and at Koror Elementary, we are trying to finish all of the work before we leave.”
In the Republic of Palau, a significant number of children experience tooth decay by the time they enter preschool.
“The dental care here is pretty far behind what we have in the U.S. in terms of knowledge of how to care for their teeth and the care they get for their teeth and the equipment they have to treat things,” said Kramer. “It’s just not up to our [U.S.] standards and they suffer because of that. Their diet suffers, their lifestyle suffers and they just don’t have the resources here to get up to the standard that we treat to.”
According to Kramer, the Navy dental team has seen approximately 500 students during their time on island.
“So far, we’ve seen about 500 kids and we’ve done probably close to that many exams,” said Kramer. “In terms of care, we’ve done over $150,000 worth of care for the kids. We were also able to bring a digital x-ray system; it provides us with portable x-rays with better image quality and lower radiation and that has allowed us to do more procedures. It has gone really well.”
The dental team also made time to give the students classes on maintaining good oral hygiene. Additionally, the team provided the students with free toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss.
“It has been a really great experience working out here with all of the kids,” said Adame. “The best part is being able to see the treatment we’ve been able to provide for the kids and also being able to communicate with the parents. If we are able to educate parents, or at least have a conversation with them, we can show them the importance of oral hygiene and teeth brushing and that could help their children in the long run be able to maintain their adult teeth.”
|Date Posted:||09.04.2023 03:12|
|Hometown:||LAKE HAVASU CITY, AZ, US|
|Hometown:||ORANGE COUNTY, CA, US|