In Mapandan, Pangasinan, a different kind of cyclists are cruising along lonely rural roads.
“Bisekwela” is an outreach project launched September 10 by the Philippine Dental Association (PDA) Pangasinan Chapter to reach far-flung villages down to the sitio level.
The initiative is a collaboration between the PDA-Pangasinan and the Mapandan Unified Bikers Club, the local government of Mapandan led by Mayor Anthony Penuliar, the workforce of Barangay Torres and the Mapandan police.
The idea is to educate children in remote areas about the importance of good oral health, Dr. Maureen Ava Tesoro, PDA-Pangasinan chapter president, told the Philippine News Agency.
Dentists use bicycles to reach the remote areas to create a natural and low-profile link between them and the children.
Dr. Tesoro said it’s important to remind parents and children alike about proper oral health care especially when dental attention is not as easy as it used to be pre-pandemic.
Through Bisekwela, the dentists motivate parents to encourage their children to brush their teeth at least twice a day and choose foods and drinks with low sugar content.
The PDA wanted to reinforce the concept of KAP or Knowledge and Attitude affects Practices, Dr. Tesoro said.
Teaching children with positive oral health behavior helps them retain their teeth for a lifetime, she continued. To improve the oral health of the children, it is important to spread the oral health message to their families through a partnership with the education and health communities, she said.
Free dental services help motivate them to practice good oral health habits. At the same, the Dentists on Bicycles also try to find out more about how children brush their teeth.
Part of the Bisekwela initiative is Operation Pandemic where dentists provide the children with free fluoride application.
Dr. Joseph D. Lim is the former Associate Dean of the University of the East College of Dentistry, former Dean of the College of Dentistry, National University, past president and honorary fellow of the Asian Oral Implant Academy, and honorary fellow of the Japan College of Oral Implantologists. Honorary Life Member of Thai Association of Dental Implantology. For questions on dental health, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or text 0917-8591515./WDJ