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Launch of Opononi School-Based Tooth Brushing

Media Release 7 May 2008

Launch of Opononi School-Based Tooth Brushing Programme

Hokianga children will have the chance to brush up on their dental hygiene, thanks to a new school-based tooth brushing programme which will be launched on Monday.

The programme is a joint initiative between Northland District Health Board’s Public Health Unit, the New Zealand Dental Association, Hau Ora Hokianga and Colgate, who have supported the initiative by providing free toothbrushes and toothpastes.

School-based tooth brushing programmes are especially effective at giving all kids a fair chance to achieve and maintain a healthy mouth, as not all of New Zealand’s children have their own toothbrush at home.

“These programmes are fantastic, kids learn that tooth brushing is important for their own oral health and they can have fun doing it,” says Dr Neil Croucher, Oral Health Advisor to Northland DHB. “Brushing teeth twice a day with adult strength fluoride toothpaste can reduce dental decay levels by up to 15% - that's a lot of cavities prevented when you consider the mouths of a whole school of children,” he added.

Opononi Area School was approached because children in the area have historically suffered high levels of dental decay, and it is one of only a few Decile 1-3 schools in Northland that do not already have a similar programme in place.

“The latest available data shows that two-thirds of Northland’s Year 8 children have already experienced dental decay. This initiative is a small and practical way we can help to reduce these high decay rates,” says Dr David Crum, Executive Director of the New Zealand Dental Association. ends

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