Dental Health

Since its inception Jungle Medical Missions Uganda, has conducted over one thousand dental surgeries and many families and individuals have received the much-needed oral health care, in addition to oral health education and other preventive health services.

Dentists working on a patient

Jungle Medical Missions Uganda, developed an integrated dental health outreach model over the years after discovering oral health as a neglected significant need in Uganda, throughout all our medical camps in the past years.  In Uganda, Oral health presents a major public health challenge, yet remains neglected.

According to a 2021 report released by Uganda Dental Association (UDA), Uganda has only 320 dentists licensed to practice in the country, and this poses a major dental manpower challenge. With a population of over 40 million Ugandan this means that there is one dentist for every 120,000 citizens and this is much higher than the World Health Organization-recommended dentist to population ratio of 1: 8,000.

The prevalence of dental carries stands at an estimated 40% in children, and 62% in adults with more severity among female than male children. There’s no significant difference in severity among adults.

Our dental health camps make up the mechanism through which we are able to serve the underprivileged and hard to reach areas with dental services. Our dental team includes at least 2-4 dentists and 6-8 nurses who support the dentists.

What we do

Our dental outreach clinic provides oral health education, oral health screenings and extractions. The clinic stations include registration, triage, instrument sterilization, treatment area and dispensing. Our clinics mainly implement dental extractions (except for complicated extractions like wisdom teeth), treatment with silver nitrate, oral and dental hygiene education. By adding oral health education and free dental screenings, our clinical outreach program has been able to provide more oral health services to communities.

Our Scope of Coverage

Our clinics are now as far reaching as Wakiso, Luwero, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Jinja, Buikwe, and many other districts allover Uganda. We’ve also been able to take our dental services as far as parts of Kenya, Burundi and South Sudan.

Barriers to seeking healthcare for dental conditions

Wrong mindset and perception

The most reported reason for not seeking dental care is the widely held perception that one needs to visit dentist only when there are symptoms such as pain and emergency. The major reason for seeking oral healthcare in Uganda rural communities 95% of the time is toothache Many studies show that one key reason for this is the belief that oral diseases are not serious or life threatening. Research shows that 75% of most Ugandans believed that unless there is discomfort and pain, there is no need to visit a dentist.

Superstitious Cultural Beliefs

In some Ugandan Cultures there have been strange misconceptions that expectant women should not seek dental care, and many detrimental habits and cultural practices that encourage tissue mutilation (false teeth extraction) an act that’s not right and disorients teeth for children and adults.

Lack of Awareness

There’s an overwhelming ignorance of the importance of dental health care in Uganda. The habit of   visiting a dentist for regular check-up as a measure to prevent oral diseases, is not a common practice among the rural people in Uganda. Over 95percent of the people who come to our medical camps have never visited a dentist for routine oral examination.

Distance to Health Facilities

Distance to health facilities is a major hindrance as far as seeing a dentist is concerned many people in rural areas with no clear road networks have to walk long distances in order to see a dentist because the availability of transport is limited and the cost is higher.

Other barriers to oral health in Uganda include: tobacco consumption, unhealthy eating habits or diet, alcohol, cost of treatment and financial constraints, fear of pain, attitudes of the dentists and poor oral hygiene.

Get Involved

  • You can share your skills with us.

  • You can come to Uganda and be part of our team while we provide health care to the vulnerable people in Uganda.

  • You can also share your financial resources to support an eye health medical outreach.

  • You can also volunteer your time wherever you are, you can volunteer your resources in whatever way you can support us to achieve our goal of: Restoring Health Rebuilding Dreams.

  • You can partner with us.