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All smiles for World Oral Health Day 2014

Hapai Te Hauora

All smiles for World Oral Health Day 2014

New Zealand is gearing up to mark World Oral Health Day on 20th March with activities and events at early childhood centres across Auckland. Celebrated around the world, the day’s focus is on reminding young and old about the importance of protecting the teeth and mouth throughout life.

Hapai Te Hauora has worked closely with its partner organisations Auckland Regional Dental Services and Auckland Regional Public Health Services to support community activities for the day. General Manager of Maori Public Health at Hapai Te Hauora, Papa Nahi, believes that World Oral Health Day can make a positive difference for families. “If everyone has access to oral health care and knowledge of oral health then together we can make a difference and reduce the burden of oral disease.”

Over 90% of the world’s population will suffer some form of dental disease in their lifetime but many of these can easily be treated or prevented with a good oral health care routine and accessible services. As part of the day, the following messages are being promoted:

• Brush twice a day
• Use fluoride toothpaste
• Spit don’t rinse
• Regular check-ups
• Drink milk or water
• Healthy snacks = healthy teeth

Meryle Kenny of Auckland Regional Dental Services understands how important these messages are. “Good oral health at an early age is so important. We can all benefit from following these key messages” she says.

World Oral Health Day is all about encouraging local community groups to promote the oral health messages in fun and entertaining ways. Some central Auckland early childhood education services and puna reo plan to mark the day by coming together to sing a waiata and act out a play about oral health. As part of the day, the education centres will also be gifted a kete full of oral health resources. In Helensville, Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua is working with Te Awaroa Kohanga Reo to celebrate the day. Antony Thompson of Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua explains, “Our kids are so receptive to key messages when delivered right so we’re keen to participate in the day to promote teeth brushing and healthy snacks and drinks”.


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