Manchester dentist launches project Healthy Smiles JamaicaSunday, July 18, 2021
BY KASEY WILLIAMS
MANDEVILLE, Manchester – From age five Dominique Reid wanted to be a dentist.
She was so fascinated by the idea that she dressed like one every year for careers' day at school. Now, the 25-year-old has achieved her desire and wants to impact the lives of 590 children in Manchester.
Reid, who was crowned Miss Manchester Festival Queen 2021, launched her project dubbed Healthy Smiles Jamaica at the OMG Restaurant in Mandeville on Wednesday.
“We know teeth are important, people say it, but we don't really know what a smile can do. I really believe in the power of a smile, and that good oral hygiene and a great smile can really change lives,” she said.
“During my time as a dentist, I have learnt the fact that our teeth can really impact how we view ourselves, our confidence, how we get jobs, how we socialise. It can really change lives, and that is why this project is about saving smiles for a brighter Jamaica,” she added.
She explained that her project target of 590 children was inspired by this year being Jamaica's 59th anniversary of political Independence from Britain.
She underscored the importance of dental hygiene, with the Manchester Health Department catering to patients, most of whom required extractions.
“Currently, in the parish of Manchester in the public health sector for the month of May, 492 persons visited dental clinics in the parish. Of that number 476 extractions were done. From that total, 133 were children and 86 extractions were done. A whopping 65 per cent of children who visit the clinic require extractions,” she stressed.
The goal of her project Healthy Smiles Jamaica is to reduce the number of dental extractions by making the focus of dental health the prevention of dental disease.
Reid's intention is to use the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Miss Festival Queen platform to improve oral health and reduce dental anxiety in children between the ages of three to 12.
With the hope of a return to face-to-face classes in schools in September, the project will provide dental health education, preventative interventions such as examinations, cleanings and fluoride treatments in primary schools, children's homes and special education schools, as well as stage a cultural competition.
“The focus would mainly be on children ages three to 12, because this is the age where we really want to get oral health under control, as well as at around [age] six they start getting permanent teeth, so we want to ensure that the prevention of dental disease is key at this age,” said Reid, who dubbed the intervention a Tooth Tour.
Reid is exploring the possibility of virtual dental health education, because of the novel coronavirus-inspired uncertainty surrounding the full resumption of face-to-face classes.
She is vying to become Manchester's sixth Miss Jamaica Festival Queen.
Her mother, Karlene Kelly Reid, was the first Miss Manchester Festival Queen to win the national crown in 1991.
Kelly Reid told the Jamaica Observer that her daughter has been a close observer of the competition for many years.
“It is a surreal experience actually; she has been coming to the festival queen [competition] with me over the years. She has taken it in as a child coming to now. I think at some point we knew she was going to enter, but why I am happy is because the essence of who she is, is what we are looking for in a festival queen. She is committed to community service and giving back. She is a role model in terms of her academic achievement,” said Kelly Reid.
“It is a tough competition this year, but I am hoping that she will do well, and I know she is committed to working hard for it.”
“I won in 1991. Jennifer “Jenny Jenny” Small won in 1995, then we had Johnnell Smith in 2010. Krystal Tomlinson won in 2013 and in 2015 Chereese Ricketts won. Manchester actually has the second-highest number of winners, behind Kingston and St Andrew,” added Kelly Reid.
Dr Reid has received the sponsorship support from petrol firm Future Energy Source Company Limited.
Political representatives Manchester Central Member of Parliament (MP) Rhoda Moy Crawford of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party and Manchester North Western MP Mikael Phillips of the Opposition People's National Party have supported Reid and attended her project launch.
“I think it is very commendable that she is launching such a project, one that will give public information, knowledge, and the importance of dental hygiene, and she'll be offering her service to some of our children free of charge,” said Crawford.
“Project healthy smile, one child, one tooth, one smile at a time. I like it. If you go into deep rural Jamaica in the schools and see the damage that has been done to the teeth of some of these young children, you ask questions if it is the water or is it care?” asked Phillips.
“It is very commendable that, even though being a dentist yourself [Reid], that you have taken this on as a project, it only can be for the benefit of the communities that you're going to touch,” said Phillips.
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