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MDHB expands Newborn Oral Health Programme

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A newborn oral health programme trialled by MidCentral District Health Board’s Oral Health Service last year in Palmerston North is being expanded to other areas in the district.

​Before a dental examination, newborn children and their families are invited to a free oral health consultation. The Newborn Oral Health Programme allows families to have a one-on-one conversation with an experienced and friendly dental therapist in a comfortable and non-clinical environment. 

Child and Adolescent Oral Health Service Preschool/Adolescent Oral Health Coordinator Mahashweta Patel said oral health means more than good teeth; it is integral to general health and essential for wellbeing.  Baby teeth are important as healthy teeth look good, help your child eat well, are important for speech and also help retain space for permanent teeth.

She said: “It is critical that oral health practices are developed early to prevent dental decay and further oral health complications. The Child and Adolescent Oral Health Service provides free dental examinations to children and adolescents from o-18 years of age on a mobile dental clinic or a fixed dental hub.”   
The programme was piloted in July 2014 at the Te Aroha Noa Health Room. Following the success of the fortnightly sessions at Te Aroha Noa, the programme will be expanded to other areas in the community. 
The programme will be running at the Plunket rooms in Roslyn, Hokowhitu, West End, Otaki and Ashhurst, at Coley Street School in Foxton as well as continuing at Te Aroha Noa in Highbury.
Parents/caregivers will be contacted by the Child and Adolescent Oral Health Service for an appointment. Appointments will be made within the first 12 months of birth for the Newborn Oral Health Programme. The dental appointment will be booked at the closest venue to the parents’ residence.   
During the consultation families will be provided with oral health knowledge and resources to help create confidence when it comes to oral healthcare for their newborn child. It will also allow families to become familiar with Child and Adolescent Oral Health Services and aware of the dental care that will be provided to their child in the future. 
Oral health tips for your family
1. Brush teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- Children learn by copying family members, help your child to brush their teeth.
- Use a soft bristle brush and continue to help them until are 8-years-old.
2. Maintain a balanced diet that is low in sugars
- Choose water and milk over cordial, fruit juice and fizzy drinks.  
- Choose vegetables, cheese and bread over biscuits, lollies and sticky toffees.
- Avoid sweet foods such as honey on your child’s dummy as it can cause harm to your child’s teeth.
3. Keep your children’s dental appointments 
- Dental appointments are free until the age of 18 years.
- Let us know if you have new contact details so we can contact you for your child’s dental appointment (details below). 
Call the CAOH Service on 0800 TALK TEETH (0800 825 583) or (06) 350 9619 with any questions or concerns regarding Child and Adolescent Oral Health Service registration or treatment.

Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945

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