There were smiles for miles yesterday as children from Tatura Children’s Centre learnt about oral hygiene.
In conjunction with Goulburn Valley Health, the Smiles 4 Miles program aims to improve oral health in children across the region.
‘‘Today we are really trying to motivate kids to brush twice a day and make healthy food choices, such as cutting down sugars and eating more fruit and vegetables,’’ oral health specialist Tessa Lai said.
‘‘Prevention is key. We want all dental visits to be a happy one, so that children can come in and have regular check-ups.’’
Smiles 4 Miles, a Dental Health Services Victoria initiative, is run locally by Goulburn Valley Health with the aim of improving the oral health of pre-school-aged children and their families in the Greater Shepparton and Strathbogie Shire areas.
The program works to promote three key messages — eating well, drinking well and brushing well.
Eager children jumped in the dental chair to have their teeth checked, receive a goody bag and play some oral health games.
The service visits kindergartens each year, with dental therapists examining hundreds of children and carrying out any necessary treatments.
GV Health health promotion officer Lucy Stephens said oral health was the leading preventable cause of hospital admissions in children.
‘‘Over half a million children in Victoria will experience oral health issues, so locally we cover 32 services reaching about 1062 kids,’’ she said.
‘‘There is a lot of kids in our area that need our help ... it is a great program to prevent it (dental issues) from happening and to raise good positive oral health.’’