The most common oral diseases are periodontal (gum) disease and dental cavities. Thousands of people suffer from dental pain for months on end, sometimes even years, because of the lack of available dental care.
Low awareness, lack of access to oral health services and preventive measures such as fluoridation, conspire to deprive people of vital care. Toothbrushes and toothpaste are luxury items, not necessities.
Poor oral hygiene and untreated tooth decay can lead to much more serious conditions such as noma.
Mercy Ships works to prevent and reduce the effects of a lack of oral health care by providing dental surgery and treatment, and performing extractions and inserting fillings. Mercy Ships uses hospital ships complemented by mobile dental clinics to deliver dental hygiene education and training.