Oral Health for Busy Lives is the focus for the August 7–13 community awareness week and the theme’s very relevant for the thousands of families who make up our Corangamite, Warrnambool, Moyne, Southern Grampians, Glenelg and Corangamite communities.
‘Sometimes life gets really busy but this year’s Dental Health Week theme is a good reminder that good oral health is essential to our overall health and wellbeing, and that good habits need to start early in life,’ says SWH Health Promotion officer Nikita Wheaton.
‘That’s why we’re teaching local children and their families, and the staff who run kinders, long day care and family day care centres, the importance of oral health, including brushing your teeth twice a day and visiting the dentist regularly before a problem occurs.’
The Smiles 4 Miles program, an initiative of Dental Health Services Victoria, aims to improve the oral health of preschool-age children and their families by encouraging healthy eating, healthy drinking and good oral hygiene. The initiative, implemented locally by our SWH Community & Primary Health division, continues to achieve terrific results. This year, Smiles 4 Miles has 100 more children participating in the program than the 2,228 who did so in 2016.
Tooth decay, an oral disease, affects half of all children and adolescents and is five times more prevalent than asthma. Children with tooth decay and poor oral health can have trouble eating, sleeping and paying attention at kinder and day care.
Just released figures reveal the alarming number of local children who’ve had to have either fillings or extractions for decayed teeth during 2016-17:
photo > SWH Community Health Promotion officer Nikita Wheaton and Camperdown Kindergarten teacher Kim Helmore with some super-proud four-year-olds who’ve mastered the art of healthy quiche cooking.