ON THIS FATHER'S DAY, John and I want to let you in on a bit of our Dad's work.  As you know by now, our Dad is a dentist: Dr. Ken McDougall. What you may not know, is that his dedication to oral health is far reaching - from his commitment to the patients in his Jamestown practice, to his hard work in leadership positions within the American Dental Association, to his volunteer work providing dental services to under-served communities.  

Today, we decided to share a few pictures and stories from the times he (and our mom, too,) have been to Guatemala on medical mission trips.  His experiences have helped shape our view on global oral health problems, and we are forever inspired by his hard work and service to others.  Thank you, Dad!


Here, our Dad and his assistant, Emily, are set up at their work station in a village school building for the day.  They operated with travel equipment and power supplies, and all the waste (spit and other mouth stuff -technical term:)) went in a bucket until disposal. 
Dad and assistant Emily in Guatemala

On a trip like this, people line up for hours to receive care, and the overwhelming majority of work is extractions.  Within a matter of days, our dad and the team had pulled hundreds of teeth

The team set up cleaning stations, (like the one below,) outside the buildings where treatment was provided.  The instruments were washed in a disinfecting solution, and then dried in the sun: nature's sanitation device.  Nature is amazing.
cleaning dental instruments in Guatemala

*Condition of Guatemalan Life: The pup in this picture was starving, like most wild dogs in Guatemala.  At one point, (gross fact alert,) the team found the pup licking out of the waste bucket in search of food. 


village home in guatemala

In Guatemala, village life is largely subsistence farming.  The home above is a typical home for a family in such a village.

Wash Day in Guatemala

Above is a scene from washing day.  Without clean and running water, the women gather all the laundry and head to the river.


The lack of clean water is a serious problem for the quality of life of Guatemalans, and in terms of oral health, the effects are devastating

In Guatemala, soda is consumed all day long.  This is largely because safe, bottled drinking water is made to be so expensive.  In the picture, below, these women and children are drinking soda from plastic bags with straws poked into them.  

soda in bags in Guatemala

Here, a boy stands behind the counter in a soda shop.

candy and soda shop in Guatemala

Each day, cotton candy salesmen walk the villages with these racks.  

cotton candy in guatemala


Without access to regular oral care, the conditions of oral health in Guatemalan villages are not good.  Unfortunately, this problem is made considerably worse by the lack of clean water.  The systemic issues of constant soda and sugar consumption overwhelms the good work of dentists and mission trips.  As our dad described, the work of providing dental care in Guatemala is very valuable and makes an immediate impact on each person's life, but at the same time it's heartbreaking because without a change in the local diet, it's as though no end is in sight.

John and I are very inspired by our Dad's experiences, and they help us understand that giving toothbrushes only scratches the surface of how to help.  For Bogobrush, the real work of giving back is in the relationships and the communities we become part of, and is where we learn how to contribute to meaningful solutions for people's lives. 

Thanks, Dad, for all you do!