In March 2005 Todos Juntos launched the first phase of Project Sonrisa – teaching dental hygiene and distributing toothbrushes and toothpaste to children from the slums of San Martin . Most children living in these impoverished areas had never owned a toothbrush nor knew how to use one . In 2012, Todos Juntos distributed 1,700 toothbrushes and toothpastes donated by Colgate Argentina.
Today Sonrisa dental hygiene sessions use a network of state run soup kitchens, kindergartens and public schools in the slums to ensure that training takes place in a safe and orderly environment and to benefit from the collaboration and support of both the local teachers and volunteers working with these children . Pedagogical methods adapted to the different ages , such as puppet shows, music and songs are used to teach children the basic rules and importance of oral hygiene. Due to the particular environment these children come from, each session is followed by back up sessions as a means to constantly reinforce the importance of hygiene all year round. At the end of each session free toothbrushes and fluoridated toothpaste are handed out to every child and their participating parents and teachers .
Todos Juntos continues to be the only NGO teaching dental hygiene to the impoverished communities of the San Martin area and each year thanks to support from Colgate Argentina thousands of toothbrushes and toothpaste are distributed, not only during these dental hygiene sessions but also through our three Sonrisa dental clinics . Each child entering a Sonrisa Clinic is given a “one on one” oral hygiene session with the dentist at their first appointment. Again, it is most often their first contact with a toothbrush . The Sonrisa Clinics also remain open to any underprivileged child needing a toothbrush or toothpaste at any time during the year.