Dr. Nammy of San Francisco Green Dentistry discusses her non-profit organization in India.
Let’s talk about the nonprofit that you just started.
So I’m delighted to share that my nonprofit, it’s been a vision for me for 15 years. And when I got out of dental school, I went through this training through Landmark Forum. It’s a really cool organization because they really teach you how to be self reflective and teach you how to think about the community, which was really nice. I always thought about the community, being part of an Indian community, because we cared about the villages and the people around us. But when I went to Landmark Forum, I really learned to think about my global community and really how can I make a difference in everything that I do on a daily basis? So one of the things I did was that I have a very eco-conscious business, Green Dentistry. I am so proud to be the founder, CEO and owner of that business.
And through that vehicle, I have been able to start a nonprofit in India. And also with my book, I’ve been able to start a nonprofit that actually serves the under-served in India. I picked India because it’s where I’m from. And it’s where people don’t think about teeth. Teeth are not important. People, if there was a problem, they would just pull the tooth and it’s no big deal. Even my own mom has had many teeth pulled out and they don’t really understand the value of teeth, how it impacts the rest of the body and also how important it is to prevent diabetes. If you can’t chew, you can’t get nutrients. If you can’t get nutrients, you’re going to eat a lot of starches. Is that going to increase your risk for diabetes? Absolutely. And so things of that nature. And so the nonprofit with India, I’m working with an organization called American India Foundation.
It’s an organization that actually leverages the groundwork that’s already in India to make it more efficient so that we can serve more people. So I’ve had the privilege of partnering with them. And what we’re doing is we are starting with the moms, actually prenatal care and teaching the moms to make sure that, hey, what do they do when they have pregnancy gingivitis? How important it is for them to take their prenatal vitamins plus calcium, magnesium, vitamin D. So that the tooth buds, when they’re being developed in utero, they are going to become healthy. And so when they do have the baby, making sure they’re not going to have baby bottle decay. So teaching the moms to help them avoid that.
Also teaching them, in the same process, what foods should they eat? What are good foods and bad foods? Should you be avoiding starches? Should you be avoiding processed foods, things of that nature. And then in the schools really teaching kids on preventative oral hygiene instructions. So the nonprofit really starts at the root cause. It really starts at the core of life, is what I say, so that it impacts the person’s entire life. So it’s not like we’re starting at adult age, it’s really starting at really a tooth bud age and starting from that level so that the child actually can teach people around them. Because a lot of times children are teaching the parents and grandparents on what they should do. And in this process, it makes it a family norm or cultural norm, which is huge because it is really the starting of the new generation. It’s really the starting of an impact that the whole family will have. And so this year I’m really excited to say, we’ll be serving 12,500 people.
It’s really wonderful to be able to have that. And I’m hoping next year, we get more. I’m hoping next year we can serve more people and really build upon that, which is really a mobile dental van, and parts of that already have started. So it’s a mobile dental van. It’s kind of like an extension of my practice in Green Dentistry in San Francisco, where there are eco-friendly products, we’re using recycled content toothbrushes. We’re also using eco-friendly toothpaste. We’re also making sure we’re giving cleanings, preventative care. Also if there’s disease, we are making sure that we’re taking care of decay with eco-friendly materials and non-toxic materials so that, again, the whole circle of life is being handled.
A graduate of the University of Southern California and the University of California’s School of Dentistry, Dr. Patel is a leader in the movement to bring environmental sanity and well-being into the dental world. As a trusted dentist, Dr. Patel provides her patients with more than just world-class dental care — she helps them recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health. She is also a ForbesBooks and Amazon best-selling author.