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Midland DHBs promote FREE children's oral health service

Midland DHBs promote FREE children's oral health service

Dental therapists and oral health educators across the Midland district health boards area will promote healthy smiles for World Oral Health Day on Monday 12 September 2011.

They want everyone to know visits for children (from birth to 18 years) to a community dental health service or for teenagers aged 12-18 years to a dentist are FREE. And getting your pre-schooler seen by a dental therapist as early as possible is a great way to make sure their teeth are healthy and prevent decay before it happens.

World Oral Heath Day aims to promote awareness of how important it is to look after your children’s teeth and how oral health diseases can affect general health and wellbeing.

Waikato DHB Community Oral Health Service is planning a free, fun day for preschoolers on 13 September at Lollipops in Vialou St, Hamilton. It will include plunket, B4 school check advice and dental checks from 10am – 3pm. The preschool favourites, ‘Nipper & Nudge’ are back for two free shows, and with bucket loads of healthy food for lucky prize draws throughout the day. Colgate’s mascot Dr Rabbit will hop in and out as it’s his busiest week yet promoting oral health right across the region.

Waikato DHB’s new Matamata Community Dental Clinic will promote family appointments throughout the week with a limited supply of oral health packs for families who attend with preschoolers. The Tauranga firm Aqua Filter sponsored a water filter in the dental clinic.

Meanwhile in nearby Morrinsville, Paeroa and Huntly the dental team plan to hit the streets to talk to parents, enrol preschoolers and check their teeth.

The Waikato-based service is focused on an ambitious target of increasing enrolled preschoolers to 19,000 by year end and oral health week is a great time to increase awareness of what’s on offer. Tooth decay remains the most significant health problem for preschoolers with 50 per cent of five year olds having already experienced decay.

Last year over 800 Waikato youngsters had such severe teeth problems they needed further care under general anaesthetic to remove abscessing and broken down teeth and repair extensive decay. The service is focusing on getting pre-school mums and dads aware of the free service and taking simple steps to ensure their children have decay-free teeth into adulthood.

Lakes and Bay of Plenty DHB Community Oral Health Services will have displays and promotional material at libraries in Rotorua, Taupo, Tauranga as well as in the Papamoa Community Centre and outside Countdown in the Rotorua central mall

In Turangi, the Lakes DHB Oral Health Promoter has organised an interactive display outside the pharmacy in the mall planned for Monday 12,Turangi Kindergarten is being visited at lunchtime Wednesday 14 and it is also hoped to do some oral health education at one of the rural kohanga reo that day .The Turangi Chronicle will feature some photos of the kindy children eating their healthy snacks and lunches as well as those having fun with the teeth and brush models.

The Bay of Plenty District Health Board Oral Health Promoter has been working with schools and pre-schools in the lead up to World Oral Health Day by promoting the funding opportunities to run events. She has visited centres with information and enrolment forms for parents and teaching resources to support the activities in the centres.

Activities at early child centres throughout the Bay of Plenty area include: visits from dental professionals, writing and singing tooth brushing songs, brush-ins with educational support, oral health policy development and healthy eating initiatives involving parents.

Improving oral health is a top priority for the Midland district health boards. In recent years, oral health services have changed the way services have been delivered for children and adolescents. A key driver of the change is the move from the school based and treatment focused approach to a community based service that focuses on prevention and early intervention.

Changes with the oral heath service have seen an increasing demand from preschool children with increasing numbers now enrolled. The number of adolescents (aged up to 18 years) taking advantage of free oral health care has also increased.

Enrolment forms and information on enrolment is available at many locations including:
• Plunket
• early childhood centres
• doctor’s surgeries
• local schools
• dental clinics
• B4 school check.


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