Oral health for superhero smiles
Extra emphasis was placed on smiles and happy teeth in September as part of oral health month, which included teaching the correct and regular care of your own teeth as well as that of younger children.
Western Cape government health in Eden has launched a pilot project called Superhero Smiles, with the aim to improve the oral health of our communities, especially our younger children. The pilot was started earlier this year.
Community health workers and an oral hygienist visit selected preschools on a regular basis to show children the correct technique when brushing their teeth. The health workers then do follow-up visits at home to ensure that good oral hygiene is practised both at school and at home.
Teachers and parents are also educated about the importance of good oral hygiene to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. The department supplies toothbrushes and toothpaste for each child.
As with all health matters, good oral health cannot solely be achieved by the province. It needs each community member and parent to take responsibility for their own and their children’s oral health.
Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop problems before they develop and it is much less painful, expensive and worrisome than treating conditions that have been allowed to progress.
In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple steps that each of us can take to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems. These include:
Brushing thoroughly twice a day and flossing daily.
Eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks between meals.
Using dental products that contain fluoride, including toothpaste.
Rinsing with a fluoride mouth rinse if your dentist tells you to.
Making sure that your children under 12 years drink fluoridated water or take a fluoride supplement if they live in a nonfluoridated area.
Other oral health services offered by the province include:
Scale and polish (cleaning teeth and gums). Treatment of pain and sepsis (draining of abscess, antibiotic prescription, etc.).
Dental X-rays (bitewings) as aid to diagnosis.
Basic fillings (one to four surfaces) Prevention (education, brushing, fissure sealants, fluoride). – Supplied
* Contact your nearest clinic to find out about dental services in your area.
It was bright smiles all around at Siyafunda crèche in Knysna when visited by the dental health team recently.