United Way Romania joint forces with Respiro Dental, a top dental clinic in Bucharest, and decided to gather “big smiles from little people” in a dental care program for 300 underprivileged children.

The state of oral health in Europe doesn’t look promising and the situation is even worse in low income families. When parents do not have the money for food and other basic needs, toothbrushes and toothpaste are not a priority. But this lack of oral hygiene can become a critical problem, especially for children and young women – leading to a complete loss of teeth, heart problems, premature births or miscarriages.

For United Way, the nation-wide campaign “Smile Romania” – that we joined in 2012 – raised great alarm on the urgent need of oral health intervention for vulnerable people.

Thus we created the program “Big smiles from little people” to provide immediate dental treatments to low-income children. Further on, we aim for these children to learn how to take care of their teeth and maintain a healthy smile.

The young team of doctors from Respiro Dental offered the 40 children who visited them up until now an open and friendly welcome and gave them, a part from treatments and medications, something even greater: a role model. As Monica Balica, one of the doctors in the program, told us: “There have been many moments that moved me along these months (…) Larisa, a 9 year old, who in the beginning was crying in the chair – and of whom I admittedly got very attached – told me that she wants to learn a lot and become a dentist and that she would come look for me after she grows up.”

UWRo Respiro