Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut April 05, 2018 - 3:30 pm

For oral health month, Nunavut government offers advice and prizes

"A healthy body requires a healthy mouth"

The Government of Nunavut continues to promote tooth-brushing to improve the oral health of Nunavummiut and avoid tooth decay, a chronic but preventable disease, which is two to three times worse among Inuit than overall among Canadians. (FILE IMAGE)
The Government of Nunavut continues to promote tooth-brushing to improve the oral health of Nunavummiut and avoid tooth decay, a chronic but preventable disease, which is two to three times worse among Inuit than overall among Canadians. (FILE IMAGE)

April is Oral Health Month, and the Government of Nunavut is reminding its residents that “a healthy body requires a healthy mouth.”

To encourage dental visits from April 3 to April 27, the territory’s Health Department has planned events and activities for all ages—as well as a weekly handout of prizes.

The GN would also like Nunavummiut to work on improving their oral health today and every day, by following five steps:

• Brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day, and flossing daily.

• Checking your mouth regularly for any changes.

• Making healthy food choices.

• Avoiding use of tobacco products.

• Visiting your oral health care professional regularly.

You can check online to see when dentists and other dental specialists are visiting in your community.

While this schedule may look full, Nunavut has the lowest per capita rate of dentists in Canada after Newfoundland-Labrador, according to the 2017 State of Oral Health in Canada report.

That report came a year after the Canadian Dental Association said the oral health of Inuit required “serious attention” and called for “fundamental change” to Health Canada’s Non-Insured Health Benefits program.

The association said the program, which covers the cost for dental treatment for Inuit, is under-funded, with medical travel taking up the budget, instead of treatment for Inuit oral health.

For example, to keep costs down, second molars are no longer eligible for crown therapy under the NIHB, leaving no other funded option but extraction.

Even so, Nunavut spends up to 13 times more per person on dental care every year than any other jurisdiction in Canada—that is, roughly $5,000 for every man, woman and child compared $378 per capita nationally—but Inuit in the territory still suffer from poor oral health.

Mouth infections such as cavities and gum disease can worsen diabetes and heart disease, and cause pneumonia among elders, the GN said.

Missing teeth can also limit your ability to properly chew foods and can affect your nutrition, speech, social life, growth and development, and overall health.

Five years ago, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami made a call for more oral disease prevention among Inuit, more health promotion and treatment, and the reduction of practices such as extractions as the preferred treatment alternative for diseased teeth.

Among the actions ITK then proposed: mobilizing adolescents to improve oral hygiene, increasing the number of Inuit oral health service providers and encouraging better use and access to nutritional foods.


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(6) Comments:

#1. Posted by Dentist on April 05, 2018

Imagine how well our students do in school when they are sitting in class with a toothache, day after day, for months.

#2. Posted by Shopper on April 06, 2018

Some mornings , i go to the store and stand inline with kids buying pops,chips and chocolate bars or breakfast

#3. Posted by Putuguk on April 06, 2018

Why not water fluoridation?

It has been voted one of the top 10 public health interventions of all time.

The cost of fluoridation in Canada is at most $0.80 a person.

Even if you quadrupled that for Nunavut it would be a pittance compared to these stated costs of dental treatment.

A 2004 Canadian study concluded that every dollar spent on fluoridation saved $38 in dental treatment.

The lifetime cost of fluoridation for a single person is the same as the cost of one dental filling.

It has proven to reduce the prevalence of tooth decay by at least 15% in populations that use bottled water much more than we do.

For Nunavut Inuit, that could mean $26M per year less dental service. That would pay for a ton of Hamlet fluoridation systems.

#4. Posted by Pop Addicts on April 06, 2018

Pop, pop, pop… I’ve even seen it in baby bottles.

Bring it up and… blame the white man

#5. Posted by Uncle Bob on April 06, 2018

So sad to see young kids with crowns on all their teeth,
or that the loss of so many first teeth all at the same time at early age causes the replacement teeth to grow out in all directions.
Pop should be diluted with soda water at 1-1 ratio to bring it to a reasonable sugar level. Any way water is a cheaper viable option.
Has any one considered a class action against the pop producers for the damage they do to the children’s health?????????
I see it comparable with the tobacco and asbestos industries damage to the population.

#6. Posted by Young Inuk on April 10, 2018

It doesn’t help that some communities don’t have easy access to purchase brand new toothbrushes for all ages when the time comes to replace old toothbrushes.  As well as not having a local dentist.. I’ve worked with dentists that fly in months at a time in the past and the waiting list can be so long that it takes some individuals from 6 months to a year (maybe even longer!) to actually be seen.

The community I live in has two local stores, The Northern & Co-op,  that do not sell infant/toddler brushes.  I believe it would be beneficial to teach the importance of oral hygiene starting at a young age. Parents also need to want to take the time to teach the importance of oral hygiene.

That is just my opinion.

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