By Chris Bavender
World Smiles Mission has a simple goal: Give the gift of oral hygiene to those in need around the world.
“I did a lot of research about oral health because of my family’s background (with parents who are dentists) and found that half of the world doesn’t have access to a toothbrush,” Emily Deldar said. “This statistic shocked me and I decided to make a change.”
Last summer, the Carmel High School junior represented the school at the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Boston.
“At the Congress, I was inspired to do something bigger than myself. When I came home, I heard a sermon by (Grace Community Church Pastor) Dave Rodriguez where I learned I was ‘made for more,’” she said. “That message, combined with the inspirational messages I heard at the Congress, inspired me to make a change.”
Deldar founded World Smiles Mission in July. In October, it became an official nonprofit and tax-exempt organization. That same month, five board members were added, and in November World Smiles Mission also became a club at Carmel High School.
World Smiles Mission targets Third-World nations such as Guatemala, Uganda and Malawi that don’t have regular access to oral care tools. The organization sent its first shipment of dental supplies to Malawi in September and is working on logistics for a shipment to Uganda. It plans to send a shipment to Guatemala in March 2019.
“Poor oral health can lead to gum disease, heart disease, lung disease and increase maternal mortality rates. Additionally, the fact so many families have to share toothbrushes or twigs allows for many infectious diseases to spread among family members,” Deldar said. “When everyone has their own toothbrush, the risk of these are all significantly reduced. Toothbrushes can not only provide tremendous physical benefits but also many emotional benefits as well. We may not think a simple toothbrush means much, but for many, it means the world.”
Deldar, who plans to become a pediatric orthodontist, hopes World Smiles Mission will become a “leading and developed nonprofit organization that can revolutionize oral care habits around the world.”
“I hope to establish a culture of oral care in which citizens of these countries have consistent access to tools that will ensure good oral health,” she said.
Needed supplies include toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss and dental equipment. Donations can be dropped off at Deldar and Deldar Dental, 14753 Hazel Dell Crossing, Suite 700 in Noblesville.
“Additionally, I am looking for anyone who has any experience in nonprofit work, connections with organizations that can help, connections to people who can help us with transportation, distribution or international relations,” Deldar said.
For more information on how to donate, email [email protected].