Low income families often can’t afford dental care for their children, so the NWHU is providing urgent and preventative dental care programs for kids aged 17 and younger in those families.
The Healthy Smiles program provides yearly dental screenings by a health unit hygienist who will assess children’s teeth for follow-up care, which can be covered for program-eligible families. (Check out the NWHU Healthy Smiles website for eligibility requirements for follow-up care, or contact Faykes or Anita Lyons at the health unit, 597-6871).
Education about preventative care is vital, and parents should teach good oral hygiene to their children from a very early age.
“As soon as they get teeth, you can start.”
Parents should also take their kids along to the dentists office with them when they are having a checkup or their teeth cleaned so that they become familiar with the environment early in life.
Other advice for parents:
- Brush your teeth with them, sing a song and make it fun.
- Only a pea-sized portion of toothpaste is required for a child.
- Fluoridated toothpaste should not be used by children under age three.
- Consume healthy foods like fruits and vegetables
- Water or milk is better than juice drinks
Prevention is best, but sometimes children need urgent dental care, and the health unit provides a ‘Children in Need of Treatment Program’ (CINOT) which provides fillings, extractions and sedation, for children of low-income families. If your child has a toothache, bleeding gums, cavities, or a mouth injury, they may qualify for that program.
For more information visit www.nwhu.on.ca