“Ang pangarap ko po paglaki ko ay maging nurse para po matulungan ko po ang mga tao para mabalik ko yung mga ngiti nila (When I grow up, I want to become a nurse so I can help people get their smiles back),” shares eleven-year-old Princess B. Espera who hails from Sorsogon Province. She is one of the millions of children who have been impacted by the Bright Smiles Bright Futures (BSBF)® program, which helped to inspire Princess’ professional aspirations and the path she wishes to follow in the future.
The program’s efforts to teach Filipino children the value of proper oral hygiene had a big impact on Princess. She began feeling more confident in expressing herself and socializing with her fellow classmates. Her dream to become a nurse was inspired by the program’s dedication to children’s smiles and their overall well-being. Princess also credits two incredible women, her mother Mary Grace Espera and her school nurse Dra. Olbez, who both serve as her role models and supporters in pursuing her dream.
Princess’s mother, Mary Grace Espera, instilled in her a degree of discipline when it comes to oral health. “Lagi kong tinuturo si Princess na magsipilyo para laging mapanatili ang malinis na ngipin. Importante ‘yan para healthy yung bibig niya (I always taught her to keep her teeth clean. It’s important that her mouth is healthy),” says Mary Grace Espera.
Princess recalls another important figure in her decision to be a nurse, Dr. Wilma P. Olbez. She was moved by Dr. Olbez’s commitment to assisting her classmates in maintaining good oral health.
“Naturuan po kami ng tamang pagsisipilyo at tamang oral hygiene sa ngipin. At lagi rin pong chine-check ang aming mga ngipin kada po may free vacant time si Doktora Olbez (Thanks to her, we learned how to properly brush our teeth and maintain good oral hygiene. And whenever she has free time, she always checks our teeth),” says Princess fondly.
Dr. Olbez believes it is crucial to teach children about the importance of oral health to improve overall well-being, as recent studies from the Department of Education reveal cavities are the main reason why kids miss school, significantly impacting their ability to learn.
Colgate continues to prove its commitment to ensuring a healthier and brighter future for children worldwide through their BSBF program, a global initiative dedicated to protecting the oral health of young children. In the Philippines, the program has reached 37,000 public schools and 700 daycare centers in 319 cities and municipalities over the course of 25 years, benefiting 40 million children nationwide.
Recently, Colgate returned to Sorsogon Province, one of the many long-standing partners of the BSBF program in the Philippines. Through the partnership, the province has been able to raise the number of orally fit children since 2015 — from a previous rate of 12%, the numbers have continued to rise, which is now at an 80% rate in 2022, according to the Field Health Service Information System report.
With this continuous partnership, Princess and numerous schoolchildren in Sorsogon are able to learn about the importance of a healthy smile in numerous facets of life.
“Hindi nakakatakot ang pagsipilyo ng ngipin! Ang Bright Smiles Bright Futures program ay nakatulong sa akin na mapagtanto na ang pagngiti ay nagdulot sa akin ng higit na kumpiyansa na ituloy ang aking mga pangarap. Sabay-sabay tayong ngumiti para sa magandang kinabukasan! (Brushing your teeth shouldn’t be scary! The Bright Smiles Bright Futures program helped me realize that smiling makes me more confident to pursue my dreams. Let’s all smile together for a better future!),” urged Princess.
A simple smile holds so much power, as it can reflect one’s self-perception, confidence, and quality of life. Through Colgate’s Bright Smiles Bright Futures (BSBF)® Program, Princess is among the millions of kids who can now confidently wear healthier and brighter smiles.
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