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JICA volunteer leads demonstration of tooth brushing in Vava’u Island

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1 July 2011

Eradication of tooth decay is a major issue in any country. It is important to encourage especially children to make tooth brushing after meals a habit. Parents should teach their children tooth brushing techniques, but the reality is far from ideal.  Tonga faces the same problem, although it is one that must be solved over a long period of time. However, thanks to the "Malimali Program" invented by the South Pacific Medical Team led by Dr. Kawamura from Japan and through supporting activities of JICA, this issue is being resolved.

In Vava'u, JICA volunteer Ms. Ai Ito is a dental hygienist. She was dispatched to the island in October 2009.

Her main job is to improve children's oral environment.

She goes to elementary schools four days a week to demonstrate tooth brushing exercises. There are 21 primary schools in Vavau and she has visited all of them.

Using a model of a large tooth, she teaches the correct way of tooth brushing.

After brushing, she advises gargling with fluoride to prevent tooth decay.

She worries that some children lose toothbrushes, and some children who forget to bring it cannot participate in the program..

" Sometimes children call out to me in the town," she says. "They say the Tongan word "Fufulunifo". Every time I hear this word, it encourages me well, "says Ms. Ito.

The number of children she has already led in her program has reached more than 3,000.

Ms. Ai Ito believes that, " Many children have some tooth decay. But compared to when I started this program, it has decreased steadily.  The enamel of the children's teeth has hard by the effect of fluoride."

Although it is a simple procedure,

Ms Ito thinks that combined with brushing habits, it is expected further decline tooth decay. " I want to work hard to clean out tooth decay from children in this country."


Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2011. Story by Mr. Hiromichi Suzuki.

Last Updated ( Friday, 07 December 2012 15:20 )  

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