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New role will help pre-schoolers brush up on oral health

New role will help pre-schoolers brush up on oral health

3 April 2014

The creation of a new role at MidCentral DHB will increase the focus on the oral health of pre-schoolers.

As the new Preschool/Adolescent Oral Health Coordinator, Mahashweta Patel is looking to build on the work her predecessor Micki Tyler has done with adolescent oral health. Her primary aim is to get pre-schoolers using the oral health service, and keeping them engaged throughout their adolescence.

Mahashweta believes the best way to achieve this is through building relationships with providers of pre-school oral health, and other early childhood health organisations. This will mean working with organisations such as Plunket, iwi providers and early childhood education centres to spread the message about oral health.

“I’m really looking forward to forming relationships with providers and other early childhood organisations; and using these relationships to enhance the uptake and ongoing participation of young children in the oral health system.”
The role will help coordinate interactions between providers of pre-school oral healthcare, and ensure that parents and children are aware of how important good oral health is. This focus on pre-school is part of the Tamariki Ora/Well Child programme that aims to keep young children healthy, and set them up with good health habits for life.

Born and bred in Palmerston North, Mahashweta moved to Dunedin to attend the University of Otago where she completed a Master’s of Public Health. She is excited to be back in her home town, working to help the community that she was raised in.

If parents are worried about their child’s oral health, dental care is free until the age of 18, so there is no cost to get any issues checked out. Also, it is possible to preserve a pre-schooler’s oral health by following a few simple steps:
· Avoid high sugar drinks such as juice and fizzy

· Don’t place sweet foods such as honey on a dummy for a young child to suck on

· Keep scheduled appointments with your child’s dental therapist

· Use a soft bristle toothbrush for young gums and teeth using a fluoride toothpaste

· Remember that children learn by copying their parents, so make sure to brush well, twice a day.


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