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- Health Unit to Offer Free Dental Screenings at High Schools in Lindsay and Haliburton -

A refresher course in good oral health will be offered to local high school students in early June.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is offering free dental screenings for students as follows:

  • In Lindsay at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School (260 Angeline St. S.), on Monday, June 9.
  • In Haliburton at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School (5358 County Road 21) on Wednesday, June 11.

The screening events are an opportunity for students to be checked by Health Unit dental staff for any cleaning or treatment needs they may have for their teeth. The dental screenings will take place during school hours. In addition to the dental screenings, students will also be able to ask questions of Health Unit staff, pick up free dental supplies and resources, and find out about financial-support programs that could offset the costs of dental care.

Consent forms will be sent home with students the week prior to the dental screening. Participation is voluntary. Parents and guardians can find out more details by calling the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577 or emailing info@hkpr.on.ca .

“Oral health is an important subject, especially for youth,” says Kristina Nairn, a Determinants of Health Nurse with the HKPR District Health Unit. “How students care for their teeth now can affect their health later on in life.”

For example, teenagers who eat foods that are acidic and high in sugar are more likely to experience cavities and gum disease as adults. It is also important to discuss oral health issues unique to teenagers, such as how oral piercings and the use of chewing tobacco can affect their oral health, Nairn adds.

Nairn says it also essential to spread the word to local families about financial-support programs that can cover the costs of dental care for youth 17 years of age and younger. As of April 1, 2014, changes made by the Ontario government mean more children and youth may be able to qualify for free dental care.

“High costs and a lack of private dental insurance can prevent youth from being able to see a dental professional,” Nairn notes. “The good news is that there are financial-support programs available to families that can help pay the way for dental care.” The Health Unit administers three such programs (Healthy Smiles Ontario, Children in Need of Ontario and Ontario Works) that pay for dental treatment and urgent dental care.

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For more information, contact:

Kristina Nairn, Determinants of Health Nurse, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100, or 1-866-888-4577.

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