March 19, 2014
School helps raise oral health awareness
A Canterbury High School is getting behind Oral Health Week this week to help raise awareness of the importance of having regular checkups with a dentists or oral health nurse.
Christchurch’s Catholic Cathedral College is hosting a stall at the school with support from Canterbury District Health Board and local dentist Dr Thomas Moriarty.
Dr Martin Lee, Clinical Director for Canterbury DHB’s Community Dental Service, says oral health care, including getting regular check-ups, xrays, extractions and fillings is free to under 18s from private dental practices contracted by the Canterbury DHB but nearly a third of Canterbury teenagers are not getting regular dental treatment.
“We have community dental clinics based in the community where primary school children can access treatment up to year eight but once they get to secondary school they need to enrol at a private dental practice and make an appointment,” Dr Lee says.
“I commend Catholic Cathedral College for its efforts to try and raise awareness particularly around the importance of connecting teens and their parents with a private dentist.”
Dr Lee says practising good oral health habits, in order to prevent problems occurring, needs to start at early age.
“Parents play a key role to ensure their child grows up with healthy teeth. This includes limiting sugary drinks and foods, making sure their child brushes twice a day, with a fluoride toothpaste and making sure they have an annual check up with a dentist,” Dr Lee says.
“For children below year eight this will be at their community dental clinic or mobile dental van and for those older it needs to be at a private dentist, which you can find easily in your phone book or on the Canterbury District Health Board’s Community Dental Service (CDS) page http://www.cdhb.health.nz/Your-Health/Pages/dentists.aspx. Parents are encouraged to attend these appointments with their child.”
The stall at Catholic Cathedral College will be open to students on Thursday, March 20, during their lunch break from 1.10pm to 2pm.