OUR HUMBLE VISION
OUR HUMBLE VISION IS TO HELP PREVENT SUFFERING CAUSED BY ORAL DISEASE. WE DO THIS BY PROMOTING EFFECTIVE ORAL HEALTH INITIATIVES ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WHERE UNMET NEEDS ARE GREAT.
“Our common values and responsibilities towards humanity move us to fulfil our pledge to act on social determinants of health. We firmly believe that doing so is not only a moral and a human rights imperative but also indispensable to promote human well-being, peace, prosperity and sustainable development. We call upon the international community to support developing countries in the implementation of these actions …”
Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health, Rio de Janeiro, Oct. 21st, 2011
MANY KIDS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD HAVE NO MEANS TO CARE FOR THEIR ORAL HEALTH. THE DENTAL CLINIC IS TOO FAR AWAY. THEY DON’T HAVE FLUORIDE AND THEY DON’T HAVE A TOOTHBRUSH. WHAT THEY DO HAVE IS AN INCREASINGLY SUGARY DIET. THE RESULT IS OFTEN PAIN, TOOTH LOSS, MISSING SCHOOL, DISABILITY, AND IMPAIRED PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT.
SOME HUMBLING FACTS ABOUT GLOBAL ORAL DISEASE:
The WHO has declared oral disease as a critical public-health problem (alongside alcohol, health and nutrition of children, food safety, tobacco use)
Early onset of oral disease IS reversible
Oral diseases are the most common chronic diseases, affecting in excess of 3.9 billion people worldwide
Oral diseases are linked to major chronic diseases, i.e. cardio-vascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases. Poor diet, tobacco use, and excessive use of alcohol are shared risk factors
Oral disease is the fourth most expensive of all diseases to treat
The most common dental problems, such as dental caries which is pandemic, can be prevented by simple and inexpensive methods
Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease on the planet, affecting more than 90% of the world’s population. It is the most prevalent childhood disease, affecting more than 70% of school children worldwide
A global survey by an international team of scientists analysing 378 studies involving some 4.7m people between 1990 and 2010, suggests 2.4bn people have untreated tooth decay in their permanent teeth and some 621m children have untreated decay in milk teeth. Their work predicts more than 190m new cases of dental decay every year
Global inequalities in oral health, both between and within different regions and societies, undermine the fabric, productivity and quality of life of many of the worlds’ people
The greatest burden of oral diseases lies on disadvantaged and poor populations. The current pattern of oral disease reflects distinct risk profiles across countries related to living conditions, behavioral (tobacco, sugar) and environmental (clean water, sanitation, oral hygiene, fluoride) factors, oral health systems and implementation of schemes to prevent oral disease
THE MOST COMMON DISEASE ON EARTH
(percentage of world population with tooth decay)
WORLDWIDE UNTREATED TOOTH DECAY
(billions of people)
RELATIVE COST OF PREVENTIVE ORAL CARE
(days work needed to buy an annual supply of toothpaste)
WE HAVEN’T INVENTED A NEW PRODUCT, TECHNOLOGY OR REVOLUTIONARY SYSTEM. ALL WE DO IS OFFER YOU TO TAKE PART IN OUR HUMBLE EFFORT TO SOLVE A WELL-KNOWN HUMANITARIAN PROBLEM – THE HIGHLY INEQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF ORAL DISEASE.
Actually the United Nations thought of the solution before us, when they resolved at their 2011 General Assembly to: “promote the capacity-building of non-communicable disease-related NGOs at the national and regional levels, in order to realize their full potential as partners in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases”. In April 2015, the Humble Smile Foundation was founded in Sweden, with the aim of improving the lives of disadvantaged people anywhere on earth, by giving them the tools to reduce their burden of oral disease. At the same time, promoting the use of biodegradable toothbrushes, addresses the environmental problem posed by 2 billion discarded plastic toothbrushes per year.
THE HUMBLE SMILE FOUNDATION, TOGETHER WITH OUR ACADEMIC PARTNERS, HAS DEVELOPED A CAPACITY BUILDING MODEL WHEREBY VOLUNTEER TEAMS EDUCATE LOCAL SCHOOL STAFF TO PROMOTE SPECIFIC BEHAVIOUR-BASED PREVENTIVE ORAL HEALTH INITIATIVES.
The principle dental health measures are:
Implementation of monitored tooth-brushing in schools
Modification of the amount of sugar in the diet
Adjunctive activities include: education; motivation; research and first-aid. Supporting school health in this way aims at broad exposure to the host population, while maximizing long-term benefit, and minimizing cost and any potential dangers to the local infrastructure.
CAPACITY BUILDING. AN IMPORTANT AND OFTEN OVERLOOKED ASPECT OF TRADITIONAL PROGRAMS IS THAT LOCAL NON-DENTAL HEALTH PERSONNEL COULD DELIVER MUCH OF THE BASIC ORAL HEALTHCARE.
The Humble Smile Foundation is committed to developing and strengthening the capacities of such personnel through education and training. The advantages of such a model are that it makes use of existing personnel, it integrates oral health within general health and it has the potential to strengthen the existing local healthcare system. Training-The-Trainers in this way enables sustainability as the trainees become trainers etc.
In addition, interventions must aim to promote and facilitate long-term sustainable improvements, such as tackling upstream factors, and the environment that cause poor oral health and create inequities. Healthy public policies and legislation are important upstream measures to promote oral health, such as legislation to support the implementation of fluoridation programs (water, milk, salt and toothpaste), and healthy diet policy to create a supportive environment that is conducive to oral health. In particular, water fluoridation is one of the most cost-effective public health measures to improve dental health and reduce inequalities. Also, removal of taxes for oral health products is fundamental to avoid health inequities.
Healthy behaviors & lifestyles developed at a young age are more sustainable throughout life.
Finally, our funding is based on a sustainable business model, not donations or philanthropy. Any individual or organization that makes the switch and chooses a Humble Brush over a regular hard plastic toothbrush, is contributing to the sustainability and expansion of Humble Smile Foundation’s oral health outreach projects.
We are committed to the core values outlined by the Coalition for Responsible Short-term
Global Health Experiences:
Host country and community empowerment to define needs and activity
Humility, cultural sensitivity, mutuality and respect for all involved
Mutual partnerships with two directional learning
Compliance with applicable laws, ethical standards, and codes of conduct
Sustainable programs and capacity building
Accountability for actions
The Humble Smile Foundation adheres to the European Foundation Centre’s Principles of Good Practice, revised in 2014, that cover four key areas:
The foundation has an identifiable and independent decision-making body which acts with high ethical standards and whose members are nominated in accordance with established principles and procedures.
The foundation promotes effective and prudent management as well as sustainable investment strategies, while ensuring the best use of resources for the public benefit.
The foundation communicates the remit, goals and results of its work in a comprehensive and digestible manner, holding transparency at the core of all activities.
The foundation acts in a responsible and collaborative manner by accounting for its actions to stakeholders, and by being active in sharing its knowledge and experiences.
About the EFC Principles of Good Practice
The Principles of Good Practice were revised over a two-year period and approved by EFC members at the Annual General Assembly in Sarajevo on 15th May 2014 EFC Principles of Good Practice.
IN SUMMARY, IN OUR OWN HAPPY AND HUMBLE WAY, WE JUST HELP HUMANS BE HEALTHY:
The Humble Smile Foundation manages oral health outreach projects to help keep smiles on the faces of kids that live in the most vulnerable areas around the world. Humble smiles also appear on the faces of the helpers – the dental and dental hygiene student interns, dental professional volunteers, aid workers, corporate sponsors and even the consumers that choose to buy brands that support the projects.
Around the world, the greatest burden of oral disease lies on people who are disadvantaged by economic or geopolitical disparity. Humble Smile Foundation brings together people, from all creeds and cultures, that have chosen to share the responsibility for the well-being of the less fortunate, alleviate their burden, and make their lives better. To plagiarize an old saying: when you help someone in the world to smile, the world smiles back at you.
Oral diseases are pandemic, affecting almost every person on the planet. Tooth decay is the most prevalent childhood disease, and it’s on the rise in certain areas. We are dedicated to providing vulnerable children with the means and motivation to prevent oral pathology and morbidity by implementing behavioral and dietary adjustments to school kids’ daily routine. Also, adoption of healthy habits at a young age may prevent systemic diseases.