Smile Pinki Documentary

Smile Pinkihttp://vimeo.com/6172785

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Some of you have mentioned having difficulty opening the video – I can do it on the website and I a wondering if some of you are in the correct version of DEN1114 HISTOLOGY & EMBRYOLOGY F2015.  Please check.

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57 Responses to Smile Pinki Documentary

  1. Amazing work! I would love to volunteer one day…
    Happy New Year to all!

  2. iczuprynska says:

    Ilona Czuprynska
    Histology and Embryology
    Winter 2016

    What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities/disabilities?
    I was born and raised in Poland . I don’t hear the term ‘ second world’ used much…but by my own definition, they are nations between the first world ‘developed nations’ and the third world nations truly struggling with poverty. Poland is the country i would say between those two. However polish people are very judgmental and like to have everything the best quality. Fashion is very important in Poland . It is a mandatory to look good . People with deformities /disabilities are people who struggle the most . Outside look is very important to get a job to go to school or even do your regular shopping . Polish mentality is very overwhelming . Polish people judge people on their look not personality or character . There is no such a thing as personality . The look is what matters to everyone and everywhere . I personally never like my life in Poland . I always wanted a freedom. As teenage girl i myself had a bulimia from being 17 to 19 years old . Only because i wasn’t looking like a first class model and my high school was very demanding . I didn’t have any deformities /disabilities but still some people though that 140 pounds was overweight. I cant imagine what can person go through having for example cleft lip like on the video which we saw . Polish kids would never let child like this live a normal life . It is very sad how people can be judgmental and don’t even realize how big damage they can cause to other person .
    I find it very helpful my move to US . I find my freedom and first time in my life i felt like no-one was looking at me or constantly judging me . People in USA are very easy going and less judgmental than in my country . Most people will judge me of who based on my character not how do i look or how skinny I’m .
    2. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry?
    In Poland i would say oral health is very poor . We have some great dentists in Poland ,however Poland lacks in eduction about oral health . There is no dental hygienist . People don’t get their teeth clean every six months or not at all in their all life . Most people go to dentist when they have pain or other problem with their teeth . Its very said how people in my country know all about good clothes and fashion and hair and makeup but not many would know how important is oral health and how powerful can be beautiful smile . Im very fortunate to live in US and get better knowledge and education about oral health . I was so interested that it made me choose to become a Dental Hygienist . I would like to work in future towards better education in countries when oral health is so poor . I hope i can make some changes in people lives .

    3.Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)?
    In my opinion people with deformities are very unfortunate people. It is not their fault that they were born with deformities . I think appearance is very important to every one in the world . Even kids from Indian village knows how important is is to have normal and healthy looking face. We are very fortunate to live in 21st century where plastic surgery can be provide to almost everyone and be very successful. I really feel bed for people with facial deformities . Every person deserve a normal looking face so they can feel normal around others and confident especially in today very difficult world we all live in. Unfortunately there are still people out there who don’t accept people with deformities .
    Although people with deformities are no different than others ,they even more beautiful from inside than any other individual who don’t take simple things for granted.

    • I find it really crazy how people in Poland care about fashion and over all looks more than oral health. Very different from the video because people in those parts of India simply don’t have the money or capacity to even get proper oral care.

    • I am very glad that you grew up a healthy adult Ilona. I am surprised of how you described Poland and how little most of the people accept the physical deformities. Regarding the oral health, I heard that in Poland and in Europe in general, people don’t really care much about how important it is to take care of the teeth. I have a brazilian friend that is a dentist in Germany. She tells me that most of her patients look at her with an air of disapproval when she mentions the importance of making a crown for example. They only treat the extremely necessary and do not really care for cosmetic dentistry.
      In Brazil at least people are more concerned with their appearance and the access to free dental treatment makes it easier for the least privileged ones.

    • Mary says:

      The more I read about different cultures and their views on oral hygiene and deformities the more I realize they are almost the same wherever you go. Even here in the US those same problems exist, but thanks to affordable insurance that people can afford, they can maintain regular dental visits and even corrective surgery.

    • Theresa says:

      Wow, Ilona, it sounds like Poland doesn’t differ too much from NYC in that people with abnormalities can almost never live like normal people. Luckily, the cost of cosmetic surgery in NYC is lower than it has ever been because doctors must compete for business. This means that more people can have surgeries that help them live a much more “normal” life.

  3. iczuprynska says:

    Its a very touching video . It made me cry and realize how fortunate Im to live in United States . I would love to in future volunteer and help people in third world countries especially kids.

  4. Polina Katsova
    1. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities/disabilities?
    Being born in Russia, a second world country, from what I can remember looks mattered a great deal. I think that education plays a huge role on how people view deformities. Not everyone is able to afford a decent education in Russia, let alone treatment and in my opinion that is the only way to stop people from looking down on each other. As we saw in the video both Pinki and Ghutaro stopped attending school because they were getting made fun of by fellow classmates. Their deformity prevented them from receiving a higher education and bettering themselves. A very big superstition in Russian culture is to use physical hand gestures to demonstrate something negative about someone else. For example, when describing a scar you saw on someone’s face you should not show it on your own face or someone else’s. If you must, you can demonstrate in mid-air. If you do it without realizing, it can be countered by making a hand motion towards the body part used and then an abrupt motion away, as if to pick up the bad energy and throw it away. I personally see myself as an American, having lived here since I was three, and I think the American culture is much more tolerant and accepting of disabilities. There are many programs here that offer financial assistance and even job placement. Unlike in rural areas like India where people don’t even have enough money to travel to the hospital for medical treatment.

    2. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry?
    Oral health and dentistry are important in Russia. My mother told me that even those that could not afford to see a dentist regularly were treated once a year in a school environment until they went to college. Any type of work that needed to be done would be covered by government whether it was fillings, extractions or root canals. In regard to American culture, oral health is of huge importance. You cannot watch TV or open a magazine without looking at a mouth full of perfect straight white teeth. Likely, most Americans are able to afford proper dental care.

    3. Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)?
    I think that it is very important to be sensitive to a person’s facial deformities. What they look like doesn’t define who they are as an individual and doesn’t make them any different then you or me. I try to look past people’s deformities and get to actually know the person.

    • iczuprynska says:

      Im actually very impressed that Russia offer so much dental care for their citizens . I really like that second world country can provide good education about oral health to people and that they still go to dentist every year .

    • Salma Hotaky says:

      I definitely agree with you on looking past peoples deformities. They are also human and deserve the same respect we give everyone else.

  5. It was a very touching video that showed the innocence of young children who were unfortunate and dealt a bad hand in life. I would also love to volunteer and help those less fortunate in third world countries.

  6. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities disabilities?

    In Ecuador and throughout my childhood I have been exposed to a variety of values and beliefs towards people with deformities disabilities. These beliefs and values depends on the level of education that a person has or can achieve. An example of this can be shown on the Smile Pinki documental, the parents of kids with cleft lip thought about their kids and gave an impression that they were somehow ashamed of their children. Lack of education among families can lead parents to name their child a monster or to blame an eclipse to be the cause of this deformity. Despite, the children that may make fun of these special kids, we all know that children in India, United States, Ecuador and everywhere may be uneducated and influenced by their peers or families. This is because children are not mature enough and they may seem these children different then themselves. Most of the time, children are influenced by their peers because they feel “cool”. We as parents or relative or adults must teach to value everyone as equal regardless of color, sickness, disabilities and deformities. This will teach them to empathize and to not make fun of others. It will also broadening others’ perspectives and start treating these special children with an equal opportunity in order to lead them to obtain a higher quality of education as any other individual. Adults in Ecuador as in many other countries, the first impression is the one that count the most. People with disabilities and deformities are perceived to be less capable of doing any chores and/or perform any regular activity, such as sports and education. Therefore, according to my culture, opportunities are limited for the population with disabilities and deformities, leading them to have difficulty to find a job.

    2. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry?

    Oral health and Dentistry in Ecuador depends on the social status of individuals. Social class influences several aspects of ones’ life and oral health is one of such aspects. Lower class people does not have the opportunity to have dental check ups nor to be educated about their oral health due their financial circumstances. However, as of today some medical offices funded by the government were built to offer dental assistance for everyone; specially for those of low income. Lower class individuals takes advantage of such services because of the affordable prices; therefore, they have started to visit the dentist at least once a year for a dental check up. Not everyone has the opportunity to be educated about oral health, but this new system in Ecuador has recently been established to give access for lower class people. As compared with the past, the only time lower class people/ families visited the dentist was when pain arose due to a tooth decay or a dental abscess. On the other hand, the upper class have a better access; therefore, they frequently visit a dentist, but not as regularly as in the United States. Despite the differences between the United States and Ecuador, upper class individuals have a good control over their oral health. But like other poor countries, upper class individuals also have a long way to go because better changes needs to be made for an efficient and healthy oral health.

    3. Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)?

    I believe we all play an important role in people’s lives, regardless of people’s appearance. We are unaware of the effects we may cause in this person’s life, specially during childhood. We all must understand that we all are human beings and no-one chooses how to be born, neither with any type of deformity. We must accept the way we are born and respect others. One should not point out any deformity some people may have. A deformity does not define who one really is. The video “Smile Pinki,” shows many children with low self-esteem due to the negative attitudes from people that surrounds them. I was impressed with the world that these children face, how their life can change with the blink of an eye. After surgery, these children with facial deformities have the courage to start over and rejoin school due to their confidence about their new appearance. Family also play an important role on children with facial deformity or any type of deformities in these children’s life. This is because children should be taught at a young age to treat others equally and fairly. Also, within the family; children build their self-esteem and they rely on it when confronting challenges.

    • Jenn DB says:

      Carlos, I like that you say, “we must accept the way we are born and respect others.” That is so true. Everyone deserves respect, even children. Watching the video, most of the people, and it happens for even me personally with my children, speak as though they are not even there. The problem is, they hear you. And, as you discuss above, the things they hear, when they are so negative, begin to affect their confidence. It is unfortunate that people do not see the beauty inside, even their own parents.

      • Yes, indeed Jenn. It is sad to watch that, and I am pretty sure this happens all over the world. Peers or parents unconsciously may comment something and their children may hear it and will affect their self- esteem. I believe, education is the key for this complex issue.

    • akbar says:

      Interesting read Carlos. I recently read an article that was claiming how many South American countries like Ecuador have received great fund for dental assistance in the rural part of the Countries. I completely agree that children upbringing is what really matters to develop the mentality of being accepted to all forms of life.

  7. Gehan says:

    Gehan Ibrahim

    1. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities/disabilities?

    Although I was born in the United States, my parents came from Lebanon and instilled their beliefs in the way they raised my brother and me. My parents always told us to never look or stare at someone with a disability because one day our kids will be born with some sort of deformity. This belief was passed down to them for many generations and for some odd reason, they truly believe this happens. I believe that education plays a part on the way people think and deal with certain situations. In the movie, “Smile Pinki,” those people were ashamed of their children and some family members didn’t want to associate with them anymore. This goes to show that there own children weren’t as important because of the way they looked and what people would think about them. Having a deformity shouldn’t make anyone less important. In Lebanon, appearance is very important and almost everything revolves around the way you look, whether it’s making friends, getting a job, or even getting married. Although it is hard for both men and women, it is much harder for the women in my culture because the woman is judged by her beauty. The family wouldn’t consider her able to get married and have a family and she wouldn’t have much importance, which is very sad. Having lived with both cultures and knowing that this does exist here in the United States, but to a certain extent, I realized that in the United States, people are more accepting than in other countries around the world.

    2. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry?

    Oral health and dentistry is very important in my country. Like I stated before, appearance is everything. People there try there hardest to receive the best treatment possible. In Lebanon, health insurance policies are not as easily received and not everyone benefits from insurance. This makes it hard for low-income families to afford dental treatment. If you don’t have money there, nobody would treat you, no matter how bad you needed the help. Therefore many of them can’t even afford a check up while others get their teeth whitened every week. Comparing this to America, almost everyone gets treated regularly at a dentist. And almost everyone has some sort of insurance coverage to help.

    3. Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)?

    I think it is very important to be sensitive to how a person looks. I’m sure they struggle enough everyday and we should be there to be accepting and caring, not by judging. Itty is not there fault that they were born this way and that can happen to anyone. Someone having a disability or a facial deformity doesn’t make them any less important; they are still human and should be treated with the same respect.

    • I definetly agree with your point about education playing a role. Not having enough information about a subject matter tends to make us less acccepting of it. It’s interesting that you mentioned how important physical appearance is in Lebanon. It goes to show that in every corner of the world looks usually play a role in how someone is percieved. I feel like I know a little bit more about Lebanese culture now. :). I enjoyed reading that. I’ve been hearing how great Lebanese food is. I haven’t found a restaurant here in Queens yet. Been wanting to try some. Anyways, cool writing.

      • Gehan says:

        yes appearance is everything in lebanon which is sad to say lol but women there get all dressed up just to go to the grocery store. Its like a competition everyday between women. And for the food, its amazing. If your in queens I’m sure theres many middle eastern restaurants on Steinway street you can check out.

    • I find it very interesting how I was taught the same thing growing up, but my culture’s value is so different from yours. When I was young, my mom would teach me and my sister not to look at a person with a disability because I would either end up marrying someone with that disability, or my kids would be born with that disability. Even though I was taught not to look at a person with a disability, the people who taught me that does the opposite. They would stare at a person with a disability because they are different. In my culture, people with disabilities were considered to be less important.

    • Salma Hotaky says:

      Wow, our cultures are similar. We also believe if we were to make fun of someone, itll come back to us and also how itll be harder for the women to get married because she gets judged by her appearance. It is unfortunate that this is the case for some women in our cultures.

    • MichelleBarr says:

      It sounds like Lebanon is very similar to Colombia. EVERYTHING revolves around the way you look, at least for women. Men just need to worry about making money and eventually that brings them a young beautiful wife who will marry him for his money, so she can get plastic surgery and look even better. I don’t know if the surgery part relates to Lebanese women but Its a big deal in Colombia. And it’s true what you said about people getting dental care, I know some people that can barely afford a new pair of sneakers there and others who throw away their money on ridiculous things that they do not need.

    • Theresa says:

      I completely agree with you, Gehan, in that people with facial deformities already have a hard time fitting in when they’re out in public, the last thing they need is someone acting awkward because they think it’s “the right thing to do.” After all, all people want is to fit in and be a part of society and follow the norm.

    • Theresa says:

      I completely agree with you, Gehan, in that people with facial deformities already have a hard time fitting in when they’re out in public, the last thing they need is someone acting awkward because they think it’s “the right thing to do.” After all, all people want is to fit in and be a part of society and follow the norm.

  8. George says:

    *1. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities/disabilities?

    I am half Colombian and Croatian, I was born and raised in Queens. My father always told me to respect my elders and to treat others how I would want to be treated. My mother once told me never to stare at someone whom looks different (with abnormalities), and that people are people with feeling just like myself. With that said, in my life, when someone with deformities or disabilities is in front of me, I naturally will look at the deformity or disability and try to understand it. But, It is very important for that individual whom has this disability or deformity to understand it him or herself as well, in order to communicate with others about the deformity or disability and inform others whom might be curious about him or her.

    Values: We are all human, and we all have feelings, Education and exposure to deformities and disabilities will help better understand what others may be going through.

    **2 What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry?

    My mom always told me to brush my teeth, and if I didn’t she would nag me until I do, and she would tell me that no girl would want to talk to me or kiss me, and that really got me to brush my teeth! When younger and going to school I would not want to talk too much with people who had bad breath because it was distracting.

    ***3 Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)?

    There is no need to be sensitive, but be understanding, and if trying to approach an individual whom has a facial deformity, approach slowly with good intentions and with heart. That person could be the nicest person ever or the meanest, and when that moment of personality comes to light, the facial deformity is no longer the topic in mind.

    • MichelleBarr says:

      How cool! I had no idea there was a Colombian- Croatian in our class, never met one before. My mother used to tell me the same thing about staring at others with disabilities, and about repecting our elders. I totally agree with you on being able to approach a person and get to know them because what if they’re truly great people but we let things like deformities cloud our judgement, and we never get to find out.

    • Hey George, I agree with your statement about the no need to be sensitive, but be understanding when facing people with deformities. As my personal experience, it has been challenging every time I get to face people with any deformity. Even though I know these people can be capable of doing anything, something deep in my thoughts remind me of how fortunate I have been to not have any family members suffer with any deformity. When meeting any person with deformity as I get to know them it makes me realize, we all are the same and we all are able to empathize with each other and achieve any goal. A deformity does not define who you really are, people with deformities can be genius that can be living their life to the fullest, taking advantage of any opportunity they may encounter.

  9. Jenn DB says:

    1. The values and beliefs my culture — American — associates with deformities and disabilities is discomfort, for the most part. Overall, I believe, unless people have a personal understanding or experience with them, most people lack understanding, compassion, or even overcompensate in some way. I don’t want to seem negative, or cynical, but it seems as though our country/culture believes they are very open-minded when it comes to people being “different”. They donate to charities, feel terrible when considering the afflicted, and try to help in whatever way they can. However, some of those same people, when faced one-on-one with the affected individuals, sometimes feel uneasy, impatient, and even look down on them. Even more challenging is the role media has played on how beauty is defined. Our culture sees nothing close to individuals with disabilities or deformities as beautiful. It starts at a very young age. And, based on those standards, if you stray too far, or have a deformity or disability, the cruelty can be relentless.

    2. The values and beliefs my culture puts on oral health and dentistry is based on money. If you have it, you can afford to maintain it — if you value it. If you do not have it, the priority falls down the list, until there are problems — even if you do value it. Unfortunately, our culture does not prioritize dental hygiene. Most insurance coverage from employers pays little to none. I am not sure what, or how, the government pays to help individuals maintain their oral health, but I am sure it is minimal, and if not, probably to low quality facilities. However, you can only feel so bad for people. This culture’s priorities are a little “messed up” in that, although we “cannot afford” to maintain our oral health, we still can afford to have the best phones, shoes, flat screens, etc. On the opposite side, what I find amusing, again based on what the media has told us is beautiful, others will spend unbelievable amounts of money to achieve a look that sort of makes them look a little bit like a beaver.

    3. An appearance is only part of a total package. Being sensitive to how a person looks means that I think of them as different, and then I am no better than anyone who has ever made them feel bad about themselves. My way of being sensitive would be to try and look beyond any facial deformities to the person they are, and their inner beauty. What makes them unique and interesting — almost everyone is interesting or unique if you listen to them. Pinki was a beautiful little girl. She had a huge personality — you could see it. Her deformity was holding her back, it made her shy, but, she was quite special. She was very brave, spirited, and so full of life. I hope to always be appropriately sensitive to someones deformities and disabilities.

    • Gehan says:

      i definitely agree with you jenn! Its very hard for many people to maintain good oral health when they don’t have any financial support. But like you said there are also people who would rather spend money on other materialistic things than getting any dental treatment done. Either way we should never judge those who have deformities or any type of disability. I believe education and the media plays a huge role on the way we perceive individuals.

    • Mary says:

      though our countries are apart it almost seems as if they are influenced by the same views on oral health and deformities. if you are rich you can focus on oral health, if you are poor then oral health is only focused on if it becomes a painful issues. However, weather rich or poor if you have deformities you will be an outcast.

    • eunjinlee says:

      I totally agree with you. Financial problem is key. Most adults in my country do not go to the dentist unless it’s an emergency, which is bad. They do not want to spend money on their tooth unless they feel a severe pain and they cannot bare it. One of the patients I have seen in my dentist is the case. He had some pain in the mandibular teeth for a long period of time and because he couldn’t bare it anymore, he finally went to the dentist and now, he needs to get an overdenture. This is so devastating. He could have saved some of his teeth if he went to the dentist earlier, but he did not have money to come to the dentist.

  10. 1. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities/disabilities?

    Having been born in a developed country, it’s easy to take certain things for granted. I was born here in New York, but as a kid I was fortunate to spend time in my parent’s native land in Haiti. As a Haitian-American, this experience really opened my eyes to the many differences in day to day living and the challenges that many people face in developing countries. The values and beliefs associated with Haitian culture, as far as deformities and disabilities, I would describe as a culture of insensitivity and misinformed perceptions. What I mean by this is that from my own personal experience as a child living in Haiti, I can say that people sometimes view any form of disability as a sort of curse or the result of immoral living. As if to say the injury or deformity happend to the person because they were a bad person that did something immoral and they were forced to pay the price or something along those lines. Which couldn’t be further from the truth. People don’t seem to empathize with someone with a disability as much as we see here in the states. Here in America we have all sorts of programs to help accommodate populations with various disabilities. Often times people tend to overlook and under appreciate someone who was born with or perhaps acquired the disability through life’s hardships In Haiti. I vividly remember seeing folks who were amputees out on the streets living as homeless. I remember seeing these kinds of folks as a kid and being scared of them for no reason other than they were missing a limb. I was scared because in my young, misinformed mind missing a leg or having a facial abnormality meant that the person was evil or something. It’s so silly now that I think about it as an adult. As I’ve grown older I’ve come to realize that these things are a natural part of life and deformities and disabilities are a part of every culture on earth. The perception and I suppose more importantly , the way these people are treated ultimately speaks to the values of any given society and how it feels about it’s own people.

    2. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry?

    I would say the values and beliefs associated with dental health in my culture are varied. Oral health, I would say isn’t considered a primary form of health care as it is in more developed countries. Having limited or in some cases no access to dental health services makes it hard for the society to value oral health care as it should be valued. With the economic state of the country and a large amount of people not having adequate resources to live a comfortable life as we know it here in the states, I would say oral health is considered more of a luxury rather than a priority. This is sad considering the implications of poor oral health on the entire body. As a dental hygienist I’d like to be part of a global initiative that brings awareness to the importance of oral healthcare in developing countries. I would like to someday travel back to Haiti and do my part in helping spread information about oral health. As the documentary showed, a simple act of kindness can change someone’s life In ways we can never imagine.

    3. Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)?

    It’s very important to be sensitive to how a person looks because ultimately we’re all human and we tend to take things very personal and be self conscious. Which is absolutely normal. Having the understanding that someone might have concerns about different aspects of their appearance makes it easier to relate to that person and allows us as hygienist to provide the best care possible. I believe as dental hygienist a part of our job is to make people feel comfortable and welcomed in dental clinics so that they have the right perceptions of the dental profession that will allow them to continue seeking oral health care.

    • I agree with you Josue, I too have the same vision of going back home and spreading the importance of oral health. Living in a third world country for a few years , I know how how it felt to have no knowledge on how to maintaining a good oral health or why it’s important to maintain the oral health. Like you stated ” As the documentary showed, a simple act of kindness can change someone’s life In ways we can never imagine”. If I can help someone, I help and being a dental hygienist would allow me to make a differences in individual’s life.

  11. Mary says:

    Mary Lewis
    Den 1114
    January 5th 2016

    1.What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities/disabilities?

    Every year millions of people experience a need in plastic surgery, but only a small percent of them undergo surgical procedures. Although people with inborn or acquired
    defects are just the same as people with no deformities or disabilities, unfortunately they are not perceived by society and are often disregarded, laughed at, and cast out.

    I was born in West Africa, Freetown Sierra Leone. I was fortunate to survive a civil war that took place during the 1990’s by fleeing to Germany where the rest of my immediate family resided. As a young child, I witnessed countless heinous crimes ranging from kidnapping and rape of family members to mindless slaughter of innocent lives. A lot of people, mostly young males and females were amputated, which now leaves them deformed for the rest of their lives. These people were not born with disabilities, but it occurred due to unfortunate incidents. Within my culture, there are many different types of values and beliefs that we associate with deformities and disabilities. For instance, my culture does not value people that are deformed in any way. The government opened a camp called “ amputated camp”, which is only for amputates and their families. These people have to learn to survive with these deformities and disabilities amongst each other. People within this category are often shunned from their communities and are even considered cursed and labeled as a “witch”. The separation does not stop there; even children with disabilities have to settle for discrimination. They are not allowed to go to school with normal children.
    Having any type of disability in a place such as Africa is very difficult; you are often judge based on your appearance rather than your personality and achievements. While watching the video “Smile Pinki”, I was surprised of the effects of having a cleft lip. I was saddened at the thought of someone having this deformity within my country. I know for certain, that person and their family will be shunned and discriminated against. My culture does not value or believe that people with deformities or disabilities are normal. For that reason, is why it is said, that my culture values physical appearance over other qualities.

    2.What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry?

    When it comes to oral health I believe it it is very valuable, however in my country most people cannot afford to go to the dentist because of lack of money. I can honestly say that the wealthier persons within my culture values oral health and dentistry. Africans are said to have white teeth and bright smile due to the fact that they use natural resources such as brushing their teeth daily with peppermint leaves and sometimes creating homemade tooth paste from bamboo paste, which helps to produce a brighter smile. In my country, having a nice smile is important but it’s not at the top of the list for having a great physical appearance. Dentistry and oral health is not top priority for my culture; people who have the cash to see a dentist are the only ones that have access to proper oral health. This is the reason for my interest in oral health.

    My passion for dentistry and dental hygiene was born from returning home and seeing my fellow friends and family suffer from not having the proper dental care. I began to think of ways that I could provide dental help to the people of my country. Thousands of forgotten victims of Sierra Leone civil war are still my motivation and I want to fulfill my desire to provide professional dental hygiene care so that they could have healthy and better smiles. Since most people in Africa cannot afford any dental care, my plan is to provide dental care to the less fortunate and spread the importance of having a healthy oral health care.
    Good oral health enables the individual to speak, eat and socialize without any embarrassment and discomfort. In Sierra Leone, when someone has a toothache, they rather self medicate until the pain goes away or they visit a local medicine guy which is affordable for them to be treated.

    3.Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)?

    From my own experience, healthy ¬looking face with good teeth is a key point in a person’s attractiveness, but that is not all that’s matters. The ability to have a better education, a strong personality, and physical health is what makes a person. However, people with deformities go through a lot of struggle, it doesn’t count weather they are well educated or not; but because they are deformed already disqualify them in our society. I had the opportunity to visit Freetown after 15 years, I was in shock to see how many of my peers that I went to prep school with are suffering or deformed due to the war, they were amputated walking around with one arm or leg. Which really broke my heart, I was grateful to God and my family for helping us survive that atrocity. Therefore, as way of giving back we decided to open a nonprofit organization mainly for amputates, to help with food, medicines, and clothes. Furthermore, after graduation I would love to provide some dental cleaning and educate them regarding their daily oral hygiene.
    My time in Africa made me realize that it could have been anyone of us in that situation. I am not a good judge of a character, therefore I tried my best to get to know someone first before judging them and not based on their appearance.

    • Mindy says:

      Wow Mary, you’ve certainly been through a lot! I’m glad you were able to escape when you did, and I can’t imagine the heartache that you’ve been through. It’s wonderful that you’ve started a nonprofit organization to help these victims; can you tell us more about it? I would love to help out in some way. In regards to how your culture views deformities, it’s a shame that so much emphasis is put on appearance. However, this is not unique to your country only; Chinese culture is guilty of that as well. Hopefully we can all evolve and step away from this outdated mentality

    • Tacean says:

      Wow Mary, I think it’s really great that your desire to become a dental hygienist is so that you can provide professional dental hygiene care to the people of your country. So they all can have a healthy and beautiful smiles. I really enjoy reading your story and learning more about your culture. You will be a great dental hygienist!!

    • Michelle says:

      Amazing and touching story. It is great that you started a nonprofit organization for those who need the help. If in the future you can go back and educate them, that would make a huge impact and even possibly change their lives in the long run to stay healthy and on top of oral health. That is what is lacking in certain countries, it is the education that can benefit the whole population. I to would love to do some volunteer work after I finish this program.

  12. 1. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities/disabilities?
    I am from Brazil, a third world country that has a large influence of the african slaves, which can be seen in our gastronomy (“feijoada”), sports (“capoeira”), religion (“candomblé”), and even folklore, with the “Lenda do Saci-Pererê”.
    I will briefly explain who is Saci Pererê and you will understand why… Saci Pererê is a very playful character in brazilian mythology. The color of his skin is black and he has only one leg. He is always depicted smoking a large pipe. He wears a red pointed hat, which gives him magical powers like the ability to appear or disappear whenever he wants to. He loves to play pranks like distracting people who are cooking so that the food burns on the stove. Another favorite of his is to startle travelers or hunters who venture alone in the forests, by whistling loudly in their ears. After this, he appears to them in a cloud of smoke, asking them to light his pipe…. Saci is indeed a troublemaker!
    As a child, I grew up listening to his stories, and learned how to deal with physical deformities since then. This story is an example of how important is to teach respect to the “different” since young age. I have noticed that Brazil’s government is constantly educating the population of how important it is to respect the people with any kind of disability. It was way different back in the day, at least 30 years ago, when I was a child. For example, there was no easy access on the streets or public transportation for those with physical disabilities. Although several changes have been made in order to facilitate the daily lives of the disabled, Brazil’s society still has a long way to go in terms of acceptance and respect to the people with deformities/disabilities.

    2. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry?
    As a country where the majority of the population is medium to lower income, the visit to the dentist is not a priority. Most of the people still go to the dentist when there is an emergency.
    My father’s cousin is a dentist at Paraisópolis, one of the greatest slums in São Paulo, with over 80.000 residents. He charges around U$20 to extract or treat a tooth. It is a first come first serve clinic, where unfortunately parents bring their children to extract that second permanent molar that has a deep decay and the child would only need a root canal therapy. It is very sad how some areas still have no education regarding prevention.
    Not only bad things happen in Brazil…I need to show you the bright side as well! All the street water have fluoride in it, which already decreased drastically the number of decays throughout the years. In the big cities like São Paulo for example, dentistry is very advanced and renowned worldwide. The newest technology in laboratorial software known as “Digital Smile Design” was developed by a personal friend of mine, and I have heard about it in several dental lectures that I have attended in NYC. Educating the population and giving them free access to dental treatment is also another plus of a society that is slowly walking its way out from the “third world”.

    3. Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences, what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)?
    I would not be honest if I say that I feel nothing when I see someone with a facial deformity. It can be shocking sometimes, but we have to understand that there is a human being behind that “shell”. I had a friend in high school that had a cleft lip/palate. He almost did not have friends at that time. He was a very sweet asian boy and his father owned a restaurant, in which my family used to go every week. At some point he had reconstruction surgery done, and most of his speech problems were solved after a long period of speech therapy. Today I only contact him on Facebook. He got married, had a perfectly normal child, and still is that same sweet boy that I met in high school.

    • I found the Saci Perere folklore very interesting being that entertainment found in Brazil is from a character that is different and has disabilities. It’s very different compared to many other cultures. I think it is amazing that at a young age you learned that being differnet is ok and normal. In many societies including America, they only portray what an idealistic individual is supposed to look like in the media, billboards, literally all over. But never an individual with deformities or disabilities if so, it would be ways for them to change their looks such as with surgical procedure to look the idealistic way.

    • Your replies is what I was thinking but you knew how to word it better. I too feel that learning at a young age to respect “differences” will make this world better. I was pleased to see your honest reply on being sensitive to others appearances. No matter how nice we are, seeing something new can shock us and we can react with out thinking.

      • Mary says:

        January 9, 2016 at 9:49 pm
        Hi Cris,
        I really enjoyed reading your response. Your explanation of Lenda do Saci-Pererê is very interesting and reminds me how important of a role culture plays when it comes to our beliefs about deformities and disabilities. Sometimes we often forget the influence that a person’s culture plays within their beliefs and values. Similarly, like you, as a child I heard stories about people who were “different” but unfortunately they were not good stories that made me feel sympathetic for these people. Instead, I became afraid and nervous around people who were “different”. Now that I am older, and wiser and live in a different culture, I know that those stories were all myths.

  13. Mindy says:

    1. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities/disabilities?
    I was born and raised in the United States, so I identify strongly with American values and beliefs. However, growing up in a Chinese household, I was exposed to many ideas that conflict with these beliefs. The Chinese culture is filled with ideals that are strongly rooted in superstition. Oftentimes, deformities and disabilites are seen as a punishment; it means you have done something bad in your past life to deserve it. For example, if you are verbally abusive and speak badly of others, you may be born mute in your next life. Also, congenital deformities/disabilities are sometimes believed to arise from external factors, such as the actions of the mother. While my mom was pregnant with my brother, she was sewing pillowcases and laid down cloth on the bed and cut them with a scissor. My brother was born without his left ear, and my mom blames herself for it since there is a superstition that you cannot use scissors on the bed while pregnant. It seemed ridiculous to me at the time, but I realize now that Chinese beliefs are a way for people to justify and explain things that they otherwise do not understand.

    2. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry?
    Unfortunately, there is a prevalent idea in Chinese culture that it is harmful to get a dental cleaning. The belief is that cleanings will loosen your teeth and they will eventually fall out; therefore, the only time you go to a dentist is when a tooth chips, you have a fistula, or you have pain. I work in a dental office that is located in a predominantly Asian community, and every single day I have to explain to patients why cleanings are beneficial. Most patients understand when they are properly educated, but there are some patients that are defiant and refuse cleanings because their prejudice runs that deep. I’ve also heard from many patients that loosing teeth and wearing dentures is an accepted byproduct of old age. It’s sad for me to only see these patients when they have pain; by then, their appointments are usually for extractions or some type of prosthesis.

    3. Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)?
    It is very important to be sensitive to facial deformities; these people did not ask to be born this way and do not need people to remind them of it. Growing up, I watched my brother suffer through multiple surgeries to recreate his ear, and I watched kids at school tease him for it, all for something he did not ask for. People are afraid of things they do not comprehend, especially children, and sometimes we are unaware that our actions and words can be harmful. The video “Smile Pinki” resonated with me since I see the same helplessness I felt in the eyes of the children’s families when they spoke about how they were teased in school. People with deformities are regular people like you and me; therefore, it is important to be tolerant and sensitive to their feelings.

  14. 1. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities/disabilities?
    I was born in New York, but I was able to go back to China when I was younger to visit my family and I got to experience how my culture treats people with deformities/disabilities. In China, I saw a lot of people with deformities/disabilities and all of them were homeless. I got to experience first-hand how my culture views them, and honestly I was shocked. I remember a disabled homeless man was asking for help, and my mom decided to move me and my sister away from him. I didn’t understand why, and my mom explained that it was because he is different and we should not associate ourselves with people like them. I did not understand it at the time, but as I grew older, I realized that Chinese culture views people with deformities/disabilities as inferior. They treat them different, like they are less than them. I was actually able to experience this myself. I had injured my Achilles tendon, and it was difficult to walk. I was walking with a noticeable limp, and in public I could feel people staring at me as if something was wrong with me. A majority of the people who stared at me were Chinese people. Some cultures, like Gihan’s, were taught not to look or stare at people with disabilities, but Chinese people did the exact opposite. They would stare at you and make it known that you were different. Chinese culture has a standard of what is considered normal. If you weren’t “normal” because you had a deformity or disability, they would treat you differently, as if you weren’t as important.
    2. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry?
    I believe that Chinese culture does not value oral health and dentistry at all. It is not about whether or not they can afford it. They just simply believe that oral health isn’t important. A lot of Chinese people, especially men, smoke cigarettes. Their teeth are very darkly stained, but it does not bother them. I can’t speak for all Chinese people, but at least in my family, they do not care about the condition of their teeth. If it does not cause them any pain or discomfort, they will not see a dentist. As I was growing up, I did not go to the dentist very often. I would go once every few years. My parents did not think it was important for an annual deep cleaning. It wasn’t until I started going to college and making my own choices that I started going to the dentist regularly.
    3. Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)?
    From personal experience, I think that you should be considerate when it comes to a person’s appearance. They are very aware of their appearance and I don’t think anyone should remind them of it. Their deformities/disabilities do not make them any less of the person that they are, and people should not treat them differently because of it. It is only an appearance. It should not determine who that person is.

  15. 1. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities/disabilities?

    I was born and raised in America but both my parents were born in Haiti. Being born and raised in America, I conformed to the American culture. Even though I grasped the American culture, both my parents made sure that I had knowledge about my heritage and where they came from. It was not until I went to Haiti, I had experienced the rawness of my Haitian culture. The Haitian culture and beliefs provides a range of explanations for deformities/disabilities. These explanations are commonly based on culture and religion. In my culture, deformities and disabilities are usually divided into several broad categories which includes god’s disease, those of natural origin, magic spells sent because of human greed, supernatural origin, Satan’s or “sent” sicknesses and many much more. Usually deformities and disabilities that cause problems in daily functioning and academic underachievement for the individual also may be seen as the consequences of a spell, a hex, or a curse transmitted by a jealous person. My culture also associates deformities and disabilities starting from within the mother’s womb. My mother very superstitious of many things. There was this one interesting superstition my mother once told me about cleft palate. If a pregnant women has a craving for cow feet and touches her mouth, the unborn child will develop a cleft palate. Being that I was not a huge believer in superstition, it was still quite interesting to hear. In my culture most people generally do not blame themselves for their deformities/disabilities or see themselves as defective. Indeed, the sense of self may even be enhanced as a curse and is often aimed at a person deemed to be attractive, intelligent, and successful. People in Haiti often rely on their inner spiritual and religious strength to deal with their problems. People with deformities/disabilities may be seen as victims of powerful forces beyond their control and thus receive the support of the community. However, sometimes shame may be associated with declined help from the family. To seek medical help or a cure for deformities and disabilities greatly depended on factors such as location, religion, and social class. For example, a higher social class individual would have greater chance at seeking medical health from the hospital then a lower class individual. Religion also plays an important role. It provides religious strength to the individual. In my culture sometimes the health of an individual with a deformity/disability may be restored through the use of herbal teas, regulated diet, compresses, baths, and massages. I remember when my sister and I visited Haiti for the first time. My sister had gotten pretty ill because if an allergic reaction. My grandmother assumed it was bad spirits within her and said she needed a cleansing. My grandmother is all about cleansing the body and the soul from evil. She actually bathed my sister in natural herbs and oils to cleanse my sister from her illness. It was quite an experience to watch especially since in the American culture we simply take just medicine or go to the hospital.

    2. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry?

    Being that I was born and raised in America, my parents had the opportunity to take me to regular dental checkups and teach me how to maintain proper hygiene. It is very unfortunate that back in Haiti it is strictly based on the social class of the individual to gain proper hygiene. A higher class individual would have the income to go to the dentist regularly then an individual that is of lower class. This of course would result in the neglect of the individual’s oral health due to lack of money to go to the dentist. Oral health is also not emphasized in Haiti due to its poverty line after the major earthquake. Lack of dental education within Haiti results in poor preventative methods for oral health care. I remember when I visited Haiti, my family members loved chewing raw sugar canes, which is known for having a caries promoting affect. They would chew sugar canes every day and not know the effects it would have on their teeth and this connects to the lack of dental education. After the major earthquake there were a few programs that were helpful enough to help transfer knowledge and techniques by training local community members in Haiti to engage in appropriate oral health practices and behaviors. Hopefully one day I can join one of these organizations and help make a change.

    3. Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences what does it mean to you to sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)?

    My mother always reminded me to never judge a book by its cover. Since then I grew up as an adult who never judges people by their appearance. She also taught me that being narrow and closed minded based on someone’s appearance is ignorant and simple stubborn. I really never understood why people would make fun of others simply because they are different from what society portrays to us as normal. When it comes down to it, people are different. No two people are completely alike, that would be boring. I feel like the majority of judging has to do with what society portrays as normal. We need to accept these differences and understand that we are all the same on the inside. We all share a common need, which is wanting to feel loved and important. I believe that if we stop judging people based on looks or differences the world would be such a happier place.

  16. Salma Hotaky says:

    1. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities/disabilities?
    I was born and raised in New York, but my parents are from Afghanistan. My parents raised my sisters and I to not look at people with any kind of abnormalities or to even make fun of them. They strongly believe that if we do make any fun of the person, it will come back to us when we have kids. In my culture, the parents that do have children with any kind of disability or abnormality usually hide the kids or keep their disability between their immediate family. They even avoid bringing the child out to any kind of social event(s). Although, some wealthy families ignore their child’s disability by arranging them to get married so they can live a normal life.

    2. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry?
    Back in Afghanistan, the wealthy are able to afford trips to the dentist. It is very important for them to take care of their oral health. Unfortunately, everything back in Afghanistan is about status. If you have the money, you can afford whatever you want. This is different when it comes the poor. Some of them don’t even have toothbrushes to brush their teeth. They have “miswaak” which is also known as a teeth cleaning twig. Surprisingly, this teeth cleaning twig has a lot of benefits. It prevents tooth decay and gum disease. So even though the poor couldnt afford to go to the dentist, their teeth were always shiny and bright.

    3. Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)?

    I believe that we should be sensitive and not judge people with deformities because at the end of the day they are still human. We should always give everyone a chance based on their personality and not judge them on their appearance. Sometimes the people that are consider “beautiful” by society may not look as beautiful once you get to know them, but the person that society considers ugly or has deformities may have a beautiful heart. That is why I personally never judge anyone and treat everyone the same because sometimes its better to look at someone’s heart than their outer appearance.

  17. MichelleBarr says:

    Michelle Barreto
    Den1114
    1/8/2016

    1. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities/disabilities?
    As an American, descent from Colombian born parents my cultural knowledge is quite mixed. While growing up I would visit my family in Colombia during the summer break for two full months each year. As the years passed and my trips to the motherland became less frequent, I was able to see how culturally different things were compared to here. Appearance is highly valued in Colombian culture, I cannot emphasize this statement enough. Yes, it is a major part of our culture in the States too, but in a different way. Here, young girls look up to models and read Vogue magazine and wish to be just as beautiful and thin as they are. Some even go as far as to develop eating disorders so they can fit into a size 0, because this is what is considered “attractive”. However, in Colombian culture being that thin will most likely get you called a “palillo” in other words a “toothpick”. Colombian women strive to be curvy and flaunt their assets whenever possible, to them being so thin means you must not be able to afford a proper meal, and need nourishment. I remember my aunts serving me giant portions and would be disappointed if I didn’t eat the whole thing, I was too skinny in their eyes and needed to plump up some more. On the other hand, I also came to realize that my family in Colombia are very polite, well-mannered people and extremely religious, unlike the people here. Once while visiting my family, I met my cousin Soraya which has a disability that unfortunately I do not know the name of, but I was able to witness first-hand how caring and concerned people were with her. Not just my family but pretty much the whole neighborhood. People went out of their way to say hello and ask how she was doing, some would bring her fresh bread from the bakery from time to time. This was shocking to me because I didn’t even know who my next door neighbor was, very less a disabled woman living in my neighborhood. I remember my mother telling me on countless occasions that “we should always treat people as we wish to be treated” because what if that were me? She would also tell me to not make fun of such people because “God would punish me” with my children and they would be born with some disability/disorder themselves if I did. So even though, appearance is highly regarded in my culture, it doesn’t mean that we treat those less fortunate than us in a diminishing manner. At least this is what I’ve observed from my direct family.

    2. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with Oral health and dentistry?
    Since looks and appearance play a huge part in my culture, oral health and dentistry is also valued and taken seriously. After all, your smile is one of the first things people notice. It is important to keep your appearance in the best shape possible, this includes clothes, hair, makeup, shoes and of course your teeth. Dentistry is not cheap in Colombia, and we’re not rich but people will make sure to save or borrow money to have their teeth checked out. Fortunately, I had an uncle who was an orthodontist and practiced out of a room in his house, so anyone in the family who needed braces was able to get them… for free! I was lucky to have my mother force me to get braces to correct my misaligned teeth; I was too young to realize that it was for my own good at the time, I’m able to thank her now. She even takes yearly trips to Colombia herself and always makes sure to go to the dentist while visiting, since dentistry is cheaper than it is here. One year when she returned she had replaced all her amalgam fillings with tooth colored composites. When I asked her why, she simply said “because they look better” I didn’t quite understand why she would do such a thing since it’s the inside of your mouth and nobody sees it. But know that I’m older I completely understand.

    3. Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks? (their appearance)
    To be sensitive to how someone looks, no matter the type of deformity they might have, is to be able to see that person and not judge them based on their disability or deformity. It’s to be able to see people for who they truly are, deformities should not be a label we stamp on those who look different from us for whatever reason. We must be able to look beyond the deformity and acknowledge that they are people just like us; they have feelings, thoughts, and experiences. They are HUMAN. However, I believe that education is a big part of how we see the world and ultimately, how we see and treat others. In the video we saw a mother who thought that an eclipse caused her daughters cleft lip. It may sound silly to us, but perhaps it’s her lack of education that she thinks in such a way. Just like the family members that didn’t want anything to do with her, maybe they don’t know any better themselves. We should be aware that people with deformities do exist and we should not be afraid of them or shun them from society, because if it were me with the deformity I know I wouldn’t want to be treated in such a way.

    • George says:

      I have been to colombia once, and have colombian family here and there. Colombian be people are a special bunch… Women and their beauty, and “confienza” in themselves, and strutting their assets is so true .. . . I have a bunch of female colombian relatives with plastic surgery, they always want to look good ! . . . When I was in Colombia, It is true that people would help and not shun off people with deformities or abnormalities . . . My aunt is a dentist, and she always helps kids whom live in rural parts of South America with cleft lips and basic restorative care. But, I disagree with dentistry being “not being Cheap” over there… IT Costs a lot less than over here, and would like to add that Colombia does offer quality care, especially aesthetic based surgeries.

      Nice read
      gm

  18. Jhanu Balkarran
    1. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities/disabilities?

    I was born and raised in South America, Guyana. I moved to the U.S at age of nine. I did not get to understand my culture fully at that time, but now as I am older I do. My culture is not different than the one that was depicted in the video. My culture is similar to the “Small Pinki” video mind set. My ancestors are from India due to the fact that Guyana was colonized by the British, which had plantation farms with slaves. The roots, and belief systems that I have witness in my culture are from India. In my culture anything that is out of the “ordinary” is superstitious. It is the same concept and beliefs we Indians share from India to Guyana. In Guyana we lived in villages as what was shown in the video. Being in a village has its disadvantages. The lack of education is a big thing. When someone don’t know the cause of something/anything, their mind is set on believing in superstitions. The answers they would get are from generation beliefs, which are passed down to their off springs and so on with the cycle. They would also turn to a “Pandit”. A pandit is like a priest, a very knowledgeable individual who is a religious scholar, and uses the scriptures as a guide for anything out of the “ordinary”. Myself as an example, I was born with a history of asthma. Now as I am an adult it is controllable and I know that it is a genetic inheritance. In my culture back then, some believe that I have asthma because my mother consumed a particular fruit which allowed me to have asthma or she was “sick” and not washing her hair the proper way. I asked my mother just to confirm what causes a Cleft lip, and she said the same thing pinki’s mother said, “there was an eclipse” while the baby was in the womb.

    2. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry?
    In Guyana, we did not pay much attention to our oral health. Lots of adults in Guyana had their permanent teeth rotten due to poor hygiene. Who can afford it would have a restoration, while some cannot. There was no oral health promotion or dentistry care. It is a third world country. Due to the lack of education and access to the “town/city area” it was hard to know the proper way of taking care of one’s own teeth or having a regular checkup. I could remember using baking soda as tooth paste to clean my teeth as a child, or chewing on a specific plant stick to clean my teeth. When I see the video and relating it to Guyanese Indian culture, it has no difference. I myself had my permanent upper right lateral incisor luckily restored when I came to this country at the age of nine.
    3. Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences, what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)?
    Nowadays it means a lot on how a person look. It is the first thing a strangers will notice where ever you go. Living in New York City, I noticed a lot revolves around fashion ,meaning how they look, and what they wear. It is human nature to prejudge, but as humans we should know that there is a reason behind everything. I see it as being a future dental hygienist, I can help make changes in many individuals health, which can results in a better appearance and a happier individual. I was brought up with the notion of if I am helping someone, do it with a clean and willing mind set, meaning do it like I want to do it, or don’t do it at all.

  19. Tacean says:

    1. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities/disabilities?
    I was born and raised on a beautiful island call Jamaica.  Jamaica is consider a third world country but growing up it never felt that way to me. I was raised in a household that taught me how to be friendly, respectful, helpful, loving, caring and always treat other in the way I wish to be treated. In my culture, we believe in helping one another in any way we can. In Jamaica, people with deformities and disabilities in my opinion were viewed as different but was never treated different. We were taught to accept them and treat them as equals so they can live a normal life. As human, we sometimes forget that God made everyone different. With that being said, there will always be negative people in the world that will judge a person based on how they look. In India, where the documentary “Smile Pinki” video took place, kids were born with cleft lip and cleft palate or both. Being born with these deformities was considered a curse in this culture. Most families believe that  children born with these deformities were because of something bad the mother did, which is far from the truth. Also, children did not attend school because  the other children would made fun of how they look. Because of the lack of money, these families could not afford surgery for their kids. With the help of the smile organization, these kids will now live a normal and healthy life.
    2. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry? 
    In Jamaica, oral health and dentistry is not viewed as a priority or necessity. Based on my experience and what I have grown up to see, people have very little knowledge on how important taking care of their teeth is. People only go to the dentist if they are in pain, and instead of restoring the tooth they would extract it. I don’t remember being educated about the definition of having good oral health and how important going to the dentist every 6 months for a cleaning was. But I do remember my mom telling me to brush my teeth are else I would end up like my grandmother and grandfather with “no teeth”. Oral health and dentistry hasn’t been a priority in the past in Jamaica but in today’s society, I have come to learn that people are becoming more and more aware of how important taking care of their teeth is.
    3. Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)?
    I believe no one should be judged based on their physical appearance because everyone is born different and unique in their own way. Like the quote, “Don’t judge the book by the cover”,  the way they look doesn’t define who they truly are as an individual. No matter what facial deformity the person has I believe  it is very important that we look past that and instead get to know the person. We have no idea what these individuals have to go through on a day to day basis. So instead of judging and looking down on them, we should help them build their self esteem and let them know that it’s okay to be and look different.

    • I am glad to know that most of the people in Jamaica are supportive with people with deformities, which is completely different from my own culture. I agree that it is important to get taught to treat everyone equally and be familiar with different types of deformities since childhood.
      I wish people in Jamaica, and people in my own country, South Korea, to get an earlier education in the importance of oral health, just like how it is in other countries.

  20. akbar says:

    1. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities/disabilities?
    My siblings and I were born and raised in New York City; therefore we lacked some cultural influences when it came to such topics like how culture associates with deformities/disabilities. My parents were born, raised, and educated in Hyderabad India and really were not too fond of some of the cultural norms that many people comprehend to be true in such parts of the world. Growing up my parents focused more on education and religious studies for their children because they disliked some parts of their culture due to the fact that the culture just taught blatant ignorance. When it comes to the religious aspect of what Islam as a religion thinks of individuals who may suffer from any form of deformities or disabilities the answer is quite beautiful to say nonetheless. The religion of Islam holds respect for any form of life and it teaches individual to not go from what some one portrays from the outside but to go with someone who is sincere and speaks the truth. My parents always taught me that people who are not in the best state of health or mind are loved by God and are a test for their parents when it comes for the parents to learn about being patient and loving their child unconditionally. Islam gives a lot of respect especially to the parents that see their child in difficulty and yet are patient and try their best to fulfill the needs of their child. Islam teaches that anyone that has form of deformities/disabilities is forgiven for any sin that they might make and are considered people of paradise. My cousin that is at the age of 15 happens to have a form of Down syndrome and autism, and the way that her father and mother take care of her is extremely emotional. The love, patience, strength, and commitment they share in order to care for their daughter is admirable to say nonetheless.

    2. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry?

    In Islam oral health and dentistry has been highly emphasized. The birth of Islam happened in the Arabian Peninsula and even the world empires of that time such as the Persians and the Byzantines considered the Arabs to be beautiful for their smile and their white teeth. Although I am not an Arab I consider this to be true because I have met with a lot of North African Arabs from morocco, Algeria, Sudan, and Somalia and these Arabs really do have beautiful teeth. In Islamic literature we learn about one of the first tooth brushes introduced to the world which is called the “Miswak.” The Miswak is a teeth cleaning twig made from the Salvadora persica tree (known as arak in Arabic). A traditional and natural alternative to the modern toothbrush, it has a long, well-documented history and is reputed for its medicinal benefits. I my self have used a Miswak my sister bought from the Middle East and I found it be very beneficial especially for my anterior teeth.

    3. Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)?

    To me being sensitive to how a person looks is very crucial. I take into consideration all the time when I see someone who has a deformity that what if that happens to me or someone I love and care for. There is a saying that I like to live by and it goes something like “thank god when you are young so god can remember you when you are old, thank god when you are rich so god will remember you when you go poor, thank god when you are healthy so god can remember you when you get ill.” This saying to me is very powerful and puts into perspective that people of health have no right to look down or feel superior to people who may be deformed, because the tables can turn rather quickly if we are not thankful each and every day for the blessings we all share. Sincerity in the heart is far more superior to the superficial aspect of an individual.

  21. 1.What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities/disabilities?I am not very familiar with what my culture thinks about deformities as it never came up as a conversation my family ever had. I was born in Dominican Republic but raised in New York and my experiences are all from the New York culture. I can say that a woman with a deformity or disability will have a harder time finding someone to marry. It is still very important for a woman to marry, both in Dominican Republic and in the United States. The United States is considered to be modern and progressive but it still has strong traditional roots. When Pinki’s father mentioned that no-one would marry her because of her face, it made me think about how it is the same here. We are lucky because it is not instilled on women to marry like it used to be but those with deformities/disabilities have trouble finding love. No matter where one comes from there are always family or strangers who will not accept differences. The United states is becoming more sensitive to disable people but there is an underline feeling that they are not smart or capable of a task/work.

    2. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry? I can not comment of the Dominican Republic in depth but I can say that basic health care is not great. It is considered a “poor” country so not many people may be able to go see a general doctor; so less will see a dentist. Even growing up in New York, I visited the dentist 8 times in 31 years. In both countries, oral health is daily tooth brushing and only visiting the dentist if something hurts. I do see more push to educate on oral health in the United States and I see more companies advertising their products.

    3. Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)? It is always important to be sensitive to any ones appearance and I do believe that more exposure to anything will make people understanding. The world is becoming smaller and smaller due to technology and the more we get exposed the more we accept. I never heard of a cleft lip until a few years ago and I never seen one. Now I know what it is and will not be taken aback if I see someone with one.

  22. Michelle says:

    DEN 1114 – Histology & Embryology
    Winter 2016

    Although born in New York, my parents were born and raised in Romania up to the 1970’s when they escaped communism. During the communism era, my parents had managed to escape to Vienna, Austria to a work camp and from there sought exile in NY, USA where they achieved their “American Dream”. They were fortunate enough to have fled during their time because people did not have any freedom or right to succeed or let alone be accepted as who they were. Unfortunately any children with any sort of disability or malformation were sent to orphanages where conditions were deplorable and certain children were tied to beds and or left to starve to death. In 1989, communism in Romania came to an end by the trial and immediate execution of Nicolae Ceausescu. Ever since then it has been a long road for Romania to rid of all the corrupt government. Today, it is a modern bustling city with a myriad of young people striving to make a change.
    My parents have always brought me and my brother up in the utmost caring and accepting way with a supporting hand. Growing up with my older brother that unfortunately lost his hearing at the age of four made me understand that there is absolutely no reason to treat people with disabilities any different. I took it upon myself to learn some sign language. Anytime a child has a disability, treating them differently in a negative way will always impact them emotionally and psychologically. Seeing how the parents of the children with cleft palate speak of them as a burden and that they wish their child had never been born is saddening. I also understand that in third world countries it is difficult to accept people with deformities or disabilities due to a lack in education and an emphasis on traditional culture and superstitions can lead to exclusion of the handicapped.
    In Romanian culture, appearance is very important in every aspect. This however does not apply to those who are in poverty and cannot afford dental care. Some go by the “if it does not hurt, there is nothing to fix”. This rational always leads to a bigger problem. Those who can afford dental care, do take very good care of themselves. I do not think that Europe in general is up to par regarding preventative oral healthcare. Dental hygienist do not exist there and most people do not keep up with cleanings every six months as we do in America. Hopefully with more education, people will be more aware of the importance of preventative care.

  23. eunjinlee says:

    1. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities/disabilities?
    I was born in South Korea and I lived there for about 10 years. I have experienced and seem the values and beliefs of South Korea on deformities and disabilities. When someone in the family has a disability or a deformity, it was considered as a problem that arose in the family and not any other consequences. Many are embarrassed to tell anyone about the problem; thus keeping it a secret for as long as they could. When I was living in Korea, I lived in a villa that had about 4 floors. All the neighbors knew each other and were very close. After about 4 years, I saw a person I have never seen before coming down the stairs. She was very pale and very skinny—almost like a skeleton. It turns out that she was the daughter of one of the families, but she was kept at home because of her disability and appearance. It is very sad to see a family member being treated like that for an unwanted disability they got.
    2. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry?
    I believe now, South Korea has a good system of oral health and dentistry. Dentistry is improving rapidly. However, this is not the case for everyone. Some elders still do not know what scaling is and they do not get a regular routine check up every 6 months. Also, although they feel that their teeth are unhealthy, they keep it like that until they get a severe tooth ache, or something severe happens to the teeth. More adults need to be educated on how oral hygiene is crucial to their oral health and the consequences of not having a routine check up and cleaning.
    3. Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)?
    To be sensitive to the appearance of their face might mean how people are insecure of the looks they currently have. A small deformity, which may not be very noticeable, can be very crucial to the person. In Korea, people are more interested in veneers and orthodontics, rather than their oral health. Most people are more sensitive about the unpleasant appearance of their teeth rather than other problems they have in their mouth.

  24. Mary says:

    Hi Cris,
    I really enjoyed reading your response. Your explanation of Lenda do Saci-Pererê is very interesting and reminds me how important of a role culture plays when it comes to our beliefs about deformities and disabilities. Sometimes we often forget the influence that a person’s culture plays within their beliefs and values. Similarly, like you, as a child I heard stories about people who were “different” but unfortunately they were not good stories that made me feel sympathetic for these people. Instead, I became afraid and nervous around people who were “different”. Now that I am older, and wiser and live in a different culture, I know that those stories were all myths.

  25. Kyungrim Lee says:

    Sylvia Kyungrim Lee

    1. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities disabilities?
    South Korea has been growing obsession with their appearance that the most important thing they care about is how they look outside. People living in such society are mostly very judgemental when meeting other people. And it is sad to say it is very hard for people with any types of deformity to live in South Korea. Instead of helping them out, society often looks down on them as human beings, just because they are different from the “standard”. Of course, there may be a lot of people who are supportive, but the country itself provides very limited opportunities for people with disability. A lot of people in South Korea are crucial with standard of beauty that it is hard for people with disability to be accepted equally, and I believe this is going to last for a long time.

    2. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry?
    I believe people in South Korea are careless with their oral health and dentistry, compared to people here in the United States. It is heavily due to how people are raised, with not much of emphasization on the dental care since childhood. People do not visit the dental office every six months just to get checked up and have scaling done. Unless there is an extreme pain, they usually choose not to visit the dentist office. I believe some may have no experience of visiting dental office throughout their whole lifetime. And I personally think that this is heavily related to lack of insurance benefits provided for the citizens. The funny thing is that people in South Korea, dental office is often visited for esthetic purposes. As the standard of beauty is so crucial in Korea nowadays, ugly teeth may considered as one of the deformities. People are busy to fix their teeth to look pleasant, and are more willing to spend their money on esthetic over health.

    3. Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)?
    People with any types of deformities may have hard time facing other people, in lack of confidence. I belive our society has not yet grown to accept everyone equally, and it is important that we should be more sensitive about this topic. However, it is true that our medical technology has grown tremendously throughout history, that many of these deformities can be treated now. It is for sure that people with disability are now provided with better opportunities to live. And now, it is necessary for people to be more open-minded and realize that we are all same human beings.

  26. Sylvia Kyungrim Lee

    1. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities disabilities?
    South Korea has been growing obsession with their appearance that the most important thing they care about is how they look outside. People living in such society are mostly very judgemental when meeting other people. And it is sad to say it is very hard for people with any types of deformity to live in South Korea. Instead of helping them out, society often looks down on them as human beings, just because they are different from the “standard”. Of course, there may be a lot of people who are supportive, but the country itself provides very limited opportunities for people with disability. A lot of people in South Korea are crucial with standard of beauty that it is hard for people with disability to be accepted equally, and I believe this is going to last for a long time.

    2. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry?
    I believe people in South Korea are careless with their oral health and dentistry, compared to people here in the United States. It is heavily due to how people are raised, with not much of emphasization on the dental care since childhood. People do not visit the dental office every six months just to get checked up and have scaling done. Unless there is an extreme pain, they usually choose not to visit the dentist office. I believe some may have no experience of visiting dental office throughout their whole lifetime. And I personally think that this is heavily related to lack of insurance benefits provided for the citizens. The funny thing is that people in South Korea, dental office is often visited for esthetic purposes. As the standard of beauty is so crucial in Korea nowadays, ugly teeth may considered as one of the deformities. People are busy to fix their teeth to look pleasant, and are more willing to spend their money on esthetic over health.

    3. Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)?
    People with any types of deformities may have hard time facing other people, in lack of confidence. I belive our society has not yet grown to accept everyone equally, and it is important that we should be more sensitive about this topic. However, it is true that our medical technology has grown tremendously throughout history, that many of these deformities can be treated now. It is for sure that people with disability are now provided with better opportunities to live. And now, it is necessary for people to be more open-minded and realize that we are all same human beings.

  27. Theresa says:

    1. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with deformities/disabilities?
    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York I have witnessed some pretty harsh views on people with abnormalities. As we see on modern television, people that are born with differences in their bodies are paraded around for amusement or entertainment for others; this is no different from where I was raised. I do not have a culture from across the world but I do have one that is very interesting nonetheless. In New York City (NYC), perhaps the most popular place on this planet, people with deformities and/or disabilities are treated like they are subhuman; they are either even so much sympathy where they actually feel disrespected or they are viewed as some kind of monster and they obviously feel worse. With closer observation, we can see that there are definitely some measures that the state officials take to force people (in a way) to give a certain respect to people who need a little more help than others such as chairs that fold up on the bus to allow people with wheelchairs to ride the bus and not feel like they are blocking the walking lane for others (because lets face it, if those chairs were not there the bus driver would probably not even stop for a handicap person). Some people may view these notions as “unreal” or “harsh” but anyone who has spent at least five years in this city will testify to these facts.

    2. What are the values and beliefs that your culture associates with oral health and dentistry?
    Where I grew up, oral health is viewed as a “must” in that bad breath or yellow teeth make you an outcast for certain amount your peers. Throughout my youth, I attended public schools in NYC and I have witnessed kids get teased and made fun of for having either foul smelling breath or for having yellow-colored teeth. In my culture, a person with poor dental hygiene is viewed as someone from a bad home or someone who has low self respect. People will literally not allow someone to be their friend if they did not take care of their teeth. In addition, for a person in the professional world, you are not likely to excel in your career if you do not have a pearly white smile and minty breath. If you think I am exaggerating these views, ask yourself this question, “Why do all smokers pop in a piece of Orbit gum after they have a cigarette?” The government actually adds fluoride to the public tap water which not only acts as a disinfectant but also whitens teeth in the process. On that note, it is safe to say that in my culture, people with great smiles and fresh breath are viewed as superior in comparison to those who fail to maintain their oral health.

    3. Thinking about facial deformities and personal experiences, what does it mean to you to be sensitive to how a person looks (their appearance)?
    Personally, when I come across a person with facial deformities, I try to show no difference in my behavior whatsoever. I do not believe in making someone feel bad about how they look, nor do I agree with treating people who have facial deformities (or deformities in general) with any special treatment (unless it is requested by them or necessary otherwise) because when you really talk to people who live with these problems, they will talk about how uncomfortable they are when they’re treated different. More specifically, I personally try not to acknowledge the deformity at all; I actually will talk about anything and everything aside form that. Back in elementary school, I knew a girl named Clair who had a cleft lip when she was younger. Fortunately for Clair, she was able to have reconstructive cosmetic surgery on her face so that not all she has is a thin scar on her upper lip. Clair wears makeup all the time, even around the house, because it helps hide the scar and she says it makes her feel normal. For the entire time I knew Clair, we talked about her scar a total of one time. To me, I believe it is better to not even acknowledge a facial deformity, it makes people that have them a whole lot more comfortable.

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