Smiles 4 Miles Oral Health Program comes to Hume
Tooth decay is Australia’s most common, yet generally preventable, health problem. In the City of Hume, 63% of children aged 9 to 12 years presented at a public dental health service with at least one decayed, missing or filled baby or adult tooth. Children need healthy teeth to chew food easily, speak clearly and smile with confidence. Dental problems are the highest cause of preventable hospital admissions for Victorians aged under 25 years.
To address this important health issue, DPV Health is expanding the Dental Health Services Victoria Smiles 4 Miles program into Hume. The aim of the program is to improve the oral health of preschool aged children and their families by encouraging healthy eating, healthy drinking and good oral hygiene.
The Smiles 4 Miles key messages – Drink well, Eat well and Clean well – builds on the work currently undertaken by early childhood services through healthy eating and oral health policies, educating families on the importance of oral health, and fun learning experiences. Currently the program operates in 650 early childhood services and reaches over 36,000 children across Victoria. Educators who participate in Smiles 4 Miles report increased confidence and knowledge of healthy eating, oral health and how they can improve these areas within their service.
Dr Neil Cowen, CEO of DPV Health, says “We know that good dental health is essential to overall health and wellbeing, and we also know that good habits are learnt early in life. That is why we are encouraging good oral health habits with our youngest members of our community and their families. DPV Health has already run the program in the City of Whittlesea for more than ten years, reaching 2,000 families each year. By running Smiles 4 Miles in Hume, we’re aiming to repeat that success.”
Smiles 4 Miles is an award-winning program modeled on the World Health Organisation’s evidence-based Health Promoting Schools framework.