Mariza sat on the colorful chair in her classroom in Napuu. Her teacher was leading the students in their daily lesson.
“Let’s sing our body parts,” the teacher said. “Head, shoulders, knees and toes!”
The children sang and danced along. Mariza smiled as she touched each part, but then frowned. Something was missing from their song!
Mariza raised her hand. “Teacher, can we add teeth to the song? My mum told me dentists help take care of our teeth.”
“Excellent idea, Mariza!” the teacher replied. She taught the students a new verse:
“Teeth in the front, teeth in the back!
Brush them all or they might crack!
Visit the dentist two times a year!
So your smile will shine far and near!”
The classroom filled with giggles as the children sang about teeth. Mariza beamed proudly for speaking up.
That day after school, Mariza asked her mother, “Mama, what does a dentist really do? We sang about them today in school but I want to know more.”
Mama explained, “Dentists are doctors who care for your teeth and gums. We don’t have a dentist in our village, but they can do things like clean your teeth, fix holes in your teeth, and make sure your mouth is healthy.”
Mariza ran her tongue over her teeth. They felt smooth and didn’t hurt. “My teeth seem fine to me!” she said.
Mama smiled and patted Mariza’s head. “Yes, but it’s good to see the dentist twice a year for check-ups. I’ve never been to one before either, but I hear they prevent problems.”
Few weeks later….
One sunny Saturday morning in the village, the boom of a drum echoed through the streets. This was the signal for an important town gathering.
Men, women, and children began coming out of their homes and making their way to the village square. The chief always summoned these meetings when he had an announcement to share with everyone.
Under the shade of the giant baobab tree, the villagers took seats on woven grass mats laid out in rows. The sounds of lively chatter filled the air as neighbors greeted each other.
Once everyone was settled, the chief stepped forward holding his staff. His presence silenced the crowd immediately. All eyes were fixed on their white haired leader, who had guided their village for over 30 years.
“My people,” the chief addressed them in his deep, rumbling voice. “I have invited you here today because I have exciting news.”
Murmurs rose from the crowd. Announcements from the chief were always important, but “exciting news” created an extra buzz of anticipation.
The chief raised his hand to quiet the speculation. “For many years, our village has been without one very important thing: a dentist .”
“Therefore, I am pleased to announce that I have convinced a dentist to leave the comforts of city life and set up a practice right here in our village!” the chief proclaimed.
Gasps and excited whispers erupted from the stunned crowd. A real dentist was coming! This news was certainly thrilling. They peppered the chief with eager questions, which he patiently answered.
By the meeting’s end, a feeling of hopeful anticipation charged the air. Thanks to their chief’s foresight, the village would soon have access to modern dental care.
The next week, Dr. Jaho arrived and set up the dental office. On the first day, a man came in with severe tooth pain. After examining him, Dr. Jaho pulled out the infected tooth and the pain went away immediately!
Word spread quickly about the dentist. Mariza watched as people lined up to have their teeth checked. Dr. Jaho showed them proper brushing techniques too.
“You should brush gently twice a day for 2 minutes,” Dr. Jaho instructed the villagers. “And don’t forget to floss between your teeth.”
Mariza had never flossed before! She went home and told her mother all about the dentist’s advice.
“We better start flossing,” Mama said. She bought some dental floss from Dr. Jaho’s office. Mariza beamed as she flossed her teeth that night.
At school, Mariza told her classmates what she had learned.
“The dentist can fix any problems with your teeth or gums,” she explained. Some kids looked nervous, but Mariza reassured them. “It doesn’t hurt too much. And you get a special toothbrush after!”
Soon Mariza had her first check-up with Dr. Jaho. He counted her teeth and checked for cavities.
“Good job brushing!” Dr. Jaho said. “But a few spots need more attention. I’m going to put a special coating on your teeth to protect them.”
Mariza opened wide as the dentist applied the protective gel on her teeth. The bubbly taste made her giggle.
“No cavities today,” Dr. Jaho told her. “Keep up your great hygiene and I’ll see you again in 6 months!”
Mariza skipped home, excited to tell her mom she was cavity-free. She loved having a dentist in the village now.
Over the next year, Dr. Jaho became a familiar face in town. Mariza and her classmates got used to having their teeth inspected and cleaned regularly.
At school, Mariza sang the teeth song louder than ever. She was proud of keeping her smile bright and healthy, thanks to Dr. Jaho’s care.
With the dentist’s help, Mariza and all the children learned a healthy smile starts from within. Brushing, flossing, and check-ups keep your teeth strong for many songs to come!