Free Screenings During Oral Health Month

February 2, 2014

February is Oral Health Month and the theme for the month is “Healthy Smiles for a Healthy Future.” To assist parents of school age children the Oral Health Section of the Department of Health is taking its preventive efforts to new heights.

As of February 2014 students applying to enter public primary and senior schools will receive as part of their school entry application a dental screening form. This school entry examination is practiced in many other jurisdictions and provides an opportunity for early diagnosis and intervention. This form can be completed at their private dental office or through the Oral Health Section of the Department of Health. Parents will receive an examination certificate to be returned to the school.

During the month of February the section will be conducting Free Screening Express sessions at the various clinics. The screening which takes three minutes per child does not require dental x-rays and will be provided by dentists who are used to putting children at ease.

  • Hamilton Health Centre – February 17-19 – 9am to 3:30pm.
  • Somerset Health Centre – February 20-21 – 9am to 3:30pm.
  • St George Health Centre – February 20-21 – 9am to 3:30pm.

Additional screening dates will be available by appointment only.

A Department spokesperson said, “Early Childhood Caries [Decay] is a condition that results from frequent exposures to natural or refined sugars. Children who have multiple daily sugar exposures are prone to develop this condition and young children may require extensive and expensive oral rehabilitation. This condition is most commonly seen in children who drink beverages, juice or milk from a bottle or sip cup throughout the day, or who go to sleep with a bottle at night.

“Similar increases in decay can be seen in older children and youth who sip on beverages throughout the day. The Oral Health Section promotes the international recommendation that children should have their first dental checkup at about one year old, or six months after the appearance of the first tooth. Additionally, it is recommended that growing children should have a checkup every six months.

“Early identification of problems and early intervention are essential to containing health care costs and to improving the overall health and quality of life of the population.”

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