Coconuts and Tooth Decay

A few days ago I noticed a some small faces poking over the concrete wall that separates us from the neighbours. There were 2 young Haitian boys and they were interested in coconuts from my coconut trees. I was happy to oblige.  We are not big on coconut water or the pulp so I had not made any attempts to get them down. Besides these trees are too tall for me to climb and I have yet to find someone willing to climb them and clear out the coconuts.

With the help of their ladder and a long stick they successfully knocked down 8 coconuts which they promptly threw over the wall. I told them to come back when they wanted more.

Later that day there was a knock at the gate and when I saw the boys I figured they were back for more coconuts. This was not the case. The one boy explained that his sister had a very sore tooth and he asked if we had any medicine. To make sure I believed him he told me to listen carefully to the screaming coming from his yard. I gave a handful of children’s Tylenol with strict instructions on when to take them.

The next day the boys were back for more coconuts and this time the sister came along. I asked how her tooth was.  She stood in front of me and slowly opened her mouth. Her brother pointed to the back of her mouth. I am not a dentist but even I could identify at least 4 nasty rotting molars in the back of her mouth. No wonder she was screaming in pain the day before.

Along with other health issues, poor nutrition at a young age is connected to poor dental health. Unfortunately this young girl, like thousands of other young Haitian children will live with the consequences of poor nutrition and I am sure this will not be her last tooth ache. We will keep some children’s Tylenol on hand.

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