Smiles Across Nepal – reaching new heights in the provision of dentistry.
Nepal is a country of extremes, from the soaring heights of the Himalayas, the cold desert of Mustang, to the never sleeping, hustle bustle of Kathmandu. Nepal, like its neighbours in Asia, is blessed with a young population (median age 23) but it is one of the poorest countries in Asia.
For many Nepalese people, a visit to the dentist means a long and arduous trip when they are in extreme pain. Thousands of Nepalis in rural villages have no access to basic dental care, such as fillings or even fluoridated toothpaste and water.
Intense superstition surrounds dental care, including the belief that tooth extraction can cause blindness. In Kathmandu, people nail coins to a tooth God shrine to heal mouth pain.
Unlike the UK, simple dental disease in Nepal can have a potentially life-threatening impact. This problem is exacerbated by a lack of dentists in Nepal, especially in the rural areas. At present, there are ~1,803 dentists serving a population of 27 million, with 33% practising within the Kathmandu valley.