Skip to main content

The power of brushing

Plan International works in some of the poorest communities to ensure children have access to clean, running water. Then they can take everything they learn about the importance of brushing their teeth and put it to good use.

Members of a school hygiene club in Laos teach younger students how to brush their teeth
Members of a school hygiene club in Laos teach younger students how to brush their teeth

Learning to brush your teeth is one of the earliest life lessons many parents give their children. But some girls and boys live in parts of the world where they don’t have running water or even access to toothbrushes and toothpaste. Many of these places are in remote areas, far from cities and towns.

Girls and boys don't have to grow up in a world filled with plaque and tooth decay. Plan International works in some of the poorest communities to ensure children have access to clean, running water so they can take everything they learn about the importance of brushing their teeth and put it to good use. The emphasis is on making it a fun activity and something the children can be proud of and then go and share with their friends and family. Plan International also supplies toothbrushes and toothpaste where they're needed.

Boy brushing teeth, Zimbabwe
This boy from Zimbabwe brushes his teeth because he's learned it's important to keep them clean.

Access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene is critical for the survival, development and well-being of all children. We engage with communities to help them develop their own solutions to local problems. 

March 20 is World Oral Health Day and the International Day of Happiness, the perfect time to celebrate children around the world learning to brush their teeth. 

Children brushing their teeth, Ecuador
They might not have all their teeth yet, but these girls and boys from Ecuador's Andes won't let that stop them brushing.
 

In the Andes in Ecuador, living conditions can be very simple: huts made of clay with nothing but beds and smoky fireplaces inside. People here live off the land, but harsh weather conditions can leave many without a harvest leading to malnutrition, diseases and respiratory problems. Regular teeth brushing helps protect children's health.

Girl brushing her teeth, Laos
Sponsored child Vai from Laos is proud to have the perfect technique.

Vai is a sponsored child belonging to the Khmu ethnic group, who lives in the remote and mountainous area of Pha Oudom in north-western Laos. She is learning about hygiene alongside regular classes at her Plan International-supported school. 

Solid technique

A young girl from Indonesia brushes her teeth
This girl from Soe in Indonesia is making great use of the toothbrush and toothpaste she got from Plan International.

The key to the perfect smile

Woman brushes her daughter's teeth, Guinea-Bissau
Aissatu from Guinea-Bissau brushes her daughter’s teeth.

Getting in all the nooks and crannies

Girl brushing teeth, Peru
A girl tries out her new toothbrush during lessons about dental hygiene at a preschool in Peru's Puente Piedra district.

Happy World Oral Health Day!