Sugar has crept into diets even in North Korea and threatens children’s teeth. In developing countries, poor oral health can affect children’s height growth and weight. Traditional dental care is inefficient against sugar. Before, North Koreans were not aware of the significance of fluoride to dental health, and hospitals did not have enough instruments to treat people’s teeth.
To address the problem, the Finnish civil society organisation Fida organised together with North Korean dentists training to teach day-care and school teachers and the authorities in Pyongyang how to promote oral health. The children received a tooth brush and paste and a handbook on dental health. The awareness raising reached all the districts in Pyongyang.
North Korean children have less tooth decay thanks to the project. Only 16 per cent of children had healthy teeth when they started school in Pyongyang in 2007. In 2014, 75 per cent of the same children had healthy teeth. North Koreans have now taken over the awareness raising and they are reaching out to the countryside, as well.
Photo: Fida, graphics: Juho Hiilivirta