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Tooth-conscious mokopuna to win challenge


The mokopuna and whānau of Te Kiriwera Hana Kōhanga Reo based in Te Teko have triumphed in an Eastern Bay of Plenty oral health challenge.

Kōhanga Reo from across the Eastern Bay were invited to enter the annual challenge, run by the Bay of Plenty District Health Board’s (BOPDHB) Oral Health Promotion team, which looks at initiatives employed by Kōhanga Reo to inspire tamariki and their whānau towards greater oral health awareness and practice.

Te Kiriwera Hana Kōhanga Reo Kaiako Quintin Kessun said they had been surprised but delighted to have won.

“It was great for the tamariki to win, they were very excited about it,” said Quintin.

The staff of Te Kiriwera Hana engaged in lots of activities to get the tamariki thinking about their oral health.

“We took them on visits to the dentist, trying to make it fun for them, so that it was a pleasant experience and not something to be afraid of,” said Quintin. “We sang songs about cleaning and looking after our teeth; we had big models of a tooth and toothbrush which they really enjoyed; we spoke repeatedly about the benefits and importance of regular brushing; used diagrams showing the difference between healthy teeth and unhealthy teeth; emphasised the five-a-day messaging, drinking water and no fizzy drinks or lollies; and we got the parents involved as much as possible as well, which was really important.”

Prizes included a big box of fruit and vegetables, water bottles, toothbrushes, toothpaste, certificates and laminated activities books. Oral Health Promoter Hatea Ruru congratulated the winners.

“Good oral health is an important part of general health. Take care of your mouth to protect your mouth, body and spiritual well-being. He mihi nui ki ngā whānau o ngā Kohanga Reo for the awesome work they do,” said Hatea.

The challenge was based on the theme for World Oral Health Day 2019 ‘Say Ahh… Act on Mouth Health’. The message behind this theme was a motivational one for individuals to take charge of their own oral health, by taking specific action to prevent oral disease and safeguard their overall health.

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