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- Health Unit to Provide Free Fluoride Varnish Treatment to Local Preschoolers in Bid to Promote Better Oral Health -

Preschool children will benefit from a new Fluoride Varnish Treatment program being offered this fall at several child care centres across Northumberland County.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is providing the free, voluntary program to families to help combat rates of Early Childhood Caries (ECC) in the region. ECC is an infectious disease and severe form of tooth decay that affects infants and young children. Typically, ECC describes any cavity in children under the age of six years.

Fluoride varnish is a protective coating brushed on a child’s teeth. The Fluoride Varnish Treatment, approved by Health Canada and the Canadian Dental Association, can help prevent new cavities by making a child’s tooth enamel harder.

“Tooth decay is one of the most preventable diseases, yet we still see many children in this area suffering from the problem,” says Dr. Laleh Sadeghi, the Director of Oral Health with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Fluoride Varnish Treatment does not replace regular brushing or visits to the dentist, but it can help boost a child’s oral health while reducing the risk of cavities.”

Several child care centres in Northumberland County are taking part in the Fluoride Varnish Treatment program. The program involves Oral Health staff from the Health Unit applying the fluoride varnish to children’s teeth. Fluoride varnish treatment is free and can easily be applied to a child’s teeth within minutes. Children who participate in the program must be at least two years of age, and will be eligible to receive two applications of the fluoride varnish this year – this November and again next spring.

Approximately 37 per cent of Junior Kindergarten and Senior Kindergarten students in the City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton County and Northumberland County who are screened by Health Unit staff have experienced Early Childhood Caries. If left untreated, tooth decay can affect a child’s eating habits, growth and development, and overall health.

Prevention of Early Childhood Caries is very important, says Dr. Sadeghi, especially in light of new research from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). The CIHI study shows that roughly 19,000 children have dental surgery each year. Dental surgery to treat cavities and severe tooth decay accounts for approximately one-third of all day surgery operations for preschoolers.

People can find out more details about Early Childhood Caries and the Fluoride Varnish Treatment programs by contacting the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577 or visiting Information about oral health resources and financial assistance programs to offset the cost of dental treatment is also available through the Health Unit.


For media inquiries, contact:

Kristina Nairn, Social Determinants of Health Nurse, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100, ext. 1252.

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«February 2019»