Smile of joy History

Oral bacteria are very aggressive and due to the high sugar intake through the constant use of medication, children living with HIV/AIDS tend to have a lot of decayed teeth, therefore much higher bacteria counts in their mouths and are much more susceptible for multiple secondary infections such as candida, ulcers, juvenile periodontitis, Kaposi sarcoma, to name a few. These secondary infections can in some cases lead to a child’s death. The main focus is to keep as many as possible extra organisms out of a HIV/AIDS child’s system to ensure they can live an optimal healthy life. It also has to be kept in mind that when the younger children are not feeling well, mostly having only two to three caregivers on duty, it is much more likely that they will receive a bottle in bed for comfort leading to, or aggravating baby bottle caries.
The need has always been there, maybe just not recognised, for all the other needs of the ill orphaned child are addressed first, not realising what an impact a diseased mouth has on the overall health of the child. The problem with treatment of early childhood caries is that by the time it is diagnosed, it usually requires treatment in a theatre, a service with waiting lists up to one year in the government system. These children can only receive general anaesthesia when they are in a relatively healthy state. Due to the children being so susceptible to secondary infections, the long awaited theatre appointments have to be cancelled numerous times and rescheduled, postponing treatment for another year.

The rationale of Smile of Joy can best be explained through the story of Frederico – the angel child: SEE HOME PAGE