Gee, If They Could Only Have Their Two Front Teeth

A holiday jingle reveals a different meaning for children with cleft palate.

The classic children’s Yule tune, “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth,” originated in 1944 from a teacher who asked his second grade class what they wanted for Christmas only to receive replies full of toothless grins and lisp-laden babble.

But Santa’s known for creating toys, not teeth. Therefore, children probably won’t be waking up to tooth-shaped treasures hidden under the tree. Not to worry, in due time their gummy gaps will close with the spring of adult teeth, creating a vigorous smile that others may never receive.

A smile: costs nothing; is contagious; increases your face value; gives much; adds panache to your outfit; brightens the darkest day; makes people wonder what you’re up to; is an action of love; is the first step toward peace; is a form of exercise; is the same in any language; creates the good kind of wrinkles; heals millions of broken hearts.

A smile saves lives.

Specifically, ‘Operation Smile’ saves lives. Charitable organization, Operation Smile, transforms children’s lives by treating facial deformities such as cleft lips and cleft palates.

A cleft palate occurs when the roof of a baby’s mouth does not develop properly, leaving a fissured lip, mouth and, on occasion, a separated nasal cavity. One per 500 births suffers from a cleft condition that makes eating, speaking, socializing or smiling complicated. In some societies, children are shunned and rejected, labeled as a curse for having this birth defect.

Fortunately, because cleft lips and palates may be surgically repaired, hope remains for these children. Operation Smile’s donors, volunteers and staff work to repair these facial deformities by delivering safe, effective and free surgical care to children born all over the world. Yes, the good news remains that cleft lips and cleft palates may be surgically repaired. Thus far, Operation Smile has helped 135,000 children get their palate patched, teeth adjusted and smile regenerated.

So… maybe it is possible to give a child their two front teeth this holiday season? It may not be wrapped in gold tinsel and topped with a bow, but for $20 per month, you can allot a 45-minute surgery that joins a child’s teeth in all the right places, providing smiles to everyone on your holiday list.

by Lizette Romero

 

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