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Student dentists help kids keep pearly whites

Tuesday, 7th May, 2013

Trinity Whitelum and Poppy Whittaker with University of Sydney Oral Health students Lisa Yoo and Tiffany Lam. Trinity Whitelum and Poppy Whittaker with University of Sydney Oral Health students Lisa Yoo and Tiffany Lam.

By Emily Roberts

Child tooth decay is common in the city but two oral health students are trying to reverse the problem.

The BH Health Service is hosting two Bachelor of Oral Health students who are helping to promote the importance of establishing good oral health habits at a young age to parents.

The University of Sydney students - Tiffany Lam and Lisa Yoo - are working with Child and Family Health Centre staff who facilitate parenting groups.

As well as gaining experience in working in an isolated location, they visit pre-schools to give a short presentation on good oral health habits.

"We are trying to make parents aware that simple everyday activities can prevent early childhood decay," said Ms Yoo.

"Severe early childhood decay is quite prevalent in Broken Hill - a few easy actions such as eating healthy and brushing teeth can help."

If children do get decay, it can give them a negative experience of the dentist and may stop them from going back.

Ms Lam said that by visiting schools, they were hoping to make lessons easy to implement.

"We want teachers to easily replicate this lesson," she said.

"Prevention is the key."

Karen Kennedy, Oral Health Manager, Far West LHD said it was important to promote messages to parents, including encouraging children to drink water from a very young age.

"Babies should not be put to bed with a bottle of milk or other drinks besides water as decay can be caused when babies use a bottle in this way.

"Parents will also be encouraged to nurse their baby whenever a bottle is used and discouraged from propping the bottle in the cot or allowing toddlers to walk around with a bottle of milk."

An oral health presentation by the dental students will be held today at the YWCA from 10.30am to 12 noon.

It is open to parents and caregivers of children up to five years old who attend groups facilitated by the Child and Family Health Centre.

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