Saturday, February 28, 2009

Marines, Sailors work together to improve smiles in the Maldives

Photos and Story by Lance Cpl. Megan Sindelar

THE MALDIVES (Feb. 24, 2009) —Marines and Sailors with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group provided community members of the Maldives with dental care and informational classes Feb. 20-23.

Dental care was given to both children and adults to improve their general state of dental health. Classes were also given to the community members to aid in providing the knowledge needed to keep a healthy smile.

In the dental building, the Navy staff was continuously busy with teeth cleanings, sealants and extractions; helping about 400 people in just four days, said Navy Lt. Angela M. Roldan-Whitaker, the 13th MEU dental officer.

The community members first went through a general screening process before they proceeded to the hygiene area to have their teeth flossed, brushed and treated with fluoride. If necessary, they were sent to the surgery room where dentists conducted extractions, said Jonathan N. Tofts, a Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class with Battalion Landing Team 1/1.

“We were recommended to provide the people with preventive education, so that’s what we aimed for,” said Roldan-Whitaker.

The classes were geared towards six and seven year-old children, but many adults attended as well. The dental staff used props with their instruction and gave out toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss to the participants. They also provided fluoride treatments for everyone before the class ended.

“They get this kind of [dental] treatment once in a lifetime because we have the capabilities to treat [them],” said Tofts.

The Maldivian’s friendly chatter, kind eyes and big smiles showed how pleased they were to have the U.S. military members in their country, said Tofts.

“We were happy. We all pulled together like a team,” said Roldan-Whitaker.

After finishing with the clinic, the dental staff packed up and walked out to the boats, followed by a crowd of people who stood on the pier, smiled, said their thank-yous, and waved the dental staff goodbye.

1 comment:

  1. my son andrew is on the 13th meu and my god not only am i the proudest mom, but proud of all you all on that meu...god bless all of you and your