Oral Health Program

Upskilling to prevent dental caries and promote optimal health

Healthier smiles means better health

Since independence Timor-Leste has increased its oral health workforce to thirteen registered dentists and forty-six dental nurses.

Despite these small wins, oral health remains an underfunded major gap in the nation’s healthcare.

We work to improve the knowledge, capacity and skills of the oral health workforce to promote good oral health, prevent dental caries and provide vital dental treatment.

What are we doing?

Preventing Cavities with Silver Diamine Flouride

Many people don’t know that cavities will spread through the mouth if not treated.

Silver Diamine Flouride can stop cavity causing bacteria in its tracks, preventing existing cavities from getting worse and preventing the spread to other teeth.

In 2022 we:

Treated 1,008 children with SDF

Developing comptency based training modules

Dental nurses are the main providers of dental healthcare in Timor-Leste. However, they have received limited professional development and little ongoing support to enable them to carry the burden of providing sustained care for the population. 



So far we have:

Our first module is in use with dental nurses

Providing Clinical Expertise and Knowledge sharing

We support the clinical services delivered at our partners at Ryder-Cheshire Klibur Domin. We also engage support other NGO clinics to receive dental consumables and equipment via Australia and other countries.

So far we have:

Supported 3 oral healthcare partners

Public education in oral health

We conducted cash-prized social media campaigns surrounding World Oral Health Day on the importance of tooth brushing (poem and tooth brushing video demonstrations).

We received participation across Timor-Leste, Portugal and Brazil.

So far we have:

Run our first social media campaign

Developing standardised guidelines

The development and implementation of treatment guidelines is an important strategy for ensuring that dental treatments and medicines are provided safely, appropriately, effectively, and at the lowest cost.

Guidelines help oral health care professionals make decisions about the best way to treat a patient

. They also help as well as promoting standards of practice and improve the quality of health care

In 2022 we

Collaborated to draft the treatment guidelines for dental carries

Nationwide engagement and advocacy

We actively engage with professional groups to advocate for a greater focus on oral health.
Our partners include the National Department of Non-Communicable, National Oral Health Program Dental Association of Timor-Leste (ADETIL), National Institute of Public Health, and Ministry of Health Cabinet of Quality Control.

Together we work to establish systems that increase engagement and professional development support.

In 2022 we:

Signed a research and training agreement with ADETIL

The oral health team


Sanjay Mathew

Grant and Monitoring and Evaluation Manager
I work with oral health, nutrition and operations at MT. The words that I would like to use to describe the work I do are brave, intense, significant, exciting and ridiculous.

Efigenia Pereira dos Santos

Dental Nurse
Do you know there only seven government dentists in all of Timor-Leste! I’m sad that Oral Health is not a priority in my country – I hope that one day soon this recognition will come.

Who we work with on this program?

Timor-Leste Ministry of Health
Timor Leste Dental Association

How your donation helps

A little goes a long way to improving health in Timor-Leste
Oral health campaign


over 12 months

Covers the running of a oral health social media campaign.

Professional Development Events


would have covered the full cost of our first professional development event

Oral health equipment


over 12 months

Covers the cost of oral health equipment for one Community health care centre.