Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut September 14, 2018 - 11:15 am

Nunavut expands its oral health program for children

Kids up to Grade 7 now eligible for more preventive dental care

JANE GEORGE
You can find oral hygiene tips online in English, French and Inuinnaqtun on the Nunavut health department's website at bit.ly/2pXSyrB
You can find oral hygiene tips online in English, French and Inuinnaqtun on the Nunavut health department's website at bit.ly/2pXSyrB

Nunavut says it’s expanding its oral health program for children and, by doing so, hopes to improve the state of young Nunavut residents’ teeth.

The Children’s Oral Health Project already provides annual check-ups and preventive dental services such as fluoride applications, extractions, preventive fillings on teeth and referrals for young children under seven.

Now this project will also offer regular services to children in Grade 7 and under.

As well, fluoride varnish applications, which can help reduce decay, will be available across the territory for children in Grade 8 and above by community oral health coordinators, the Government of Nunavut said in a news release on Tuesday, Sept. 11.

So if you have children in these age brackets, you should register them for the children’s oral health program.

As an incentive, the program also offers food coupons for participants.

At the recent International Congress on Circumpolar Health in Copenhagen, Márta Demoth, who worked previously as a dentist in Nunavut, said that the teeth of many of the territory’s young children were so bad that they would often be directed south for major dental surgery.

A 2014 study also found that Nunavut tots undergo more dental surgery than other Canadian children, and Nunavut’s rates of extreme tooth decay among young children are the highest in Canada

Although more Nunavut preschoolers undergo dental surgery under general anesthetic than anywhere else in Canada because their baby teeth are rotten, that should improve, thanks to the oral health program, Dr. Ron Kelly, Nunavut’s chief dentist, told Nunatsiaq News last year.

Nunavummiut can improve their oral health with five simple steps, the GN said in its advisory:

• Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day and floss daily.

• Check your mouth regularly for any changes.

• Make healthy food choices.

• Visit oral health care professionals regularly.

• Avoid use of tobacco products.

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