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SECOND HELPINGS

- Health Unit to Again Provide Free Fluoride Varnish Treatment to Children Attending Local Child Care Centres -

Call it a second helping to reduce the risk of tooth decay in young children attending local daycares.

One year after launching a free dental program for pre-school-aged children, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is expanding it in 2014 to reach more families in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. This fall, the Health Unit will offer a Fluoride Varnish Treatment program to preschoolers attending child care centres throughout its region.

Fluoride varnish is a protective coating that is applied to 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.

More than 200 applications of fluoride varnish treatment were provided by Health Unit staff in the first year of the program. “We had excellent feedback from daycare staff to the initial fluoride varnish treatment last year, and wanted to expand the program to reach more families in our area,” says Anna Rusak, a Health Promoter with the HKPR District Health Unit.

Tooth decay is one of the most preventable diseases for children, Rusak notes, yet local rates of tooth decay are on the rise. “Children can get cavities soon after their first baby teeth appear,” she says. “The bad thing about cavities in baby teeth is that they can cause pain and prevent children from being able to properly eat, speak, sleep and learn.”

The Fluoride Varnish Treatment program is totally free and voluntary. Every daycare in the Health Unit’s region is being given the opportunity to take part in it. Information will be sent home to families explaining what is involved, and from there they can decide if the program is right for their child, Rusak explains. In order to take part, children must be at least two years of age.

The Fluoride Varnish Treatment takes place right at the daycare centre. The fluoride varnish will be applied to a child’s teeth by Health Unit staff. It only takes a few minutes to apply. Children who participate in the program will be eligible to receive two applications of the fluoride varnish per year for the best results, once this fall and again next spring. “Fluoride Varnish Treatment does not replace regular brushing or visits to the dentist,” says Rusak, “but it can help boost a child’s oral health while reducing the risk of cavities.”

People can find out more details about oral health and the Fluoride Varnish Treatment programs by calling the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577 or visiting www.hkpr.on.ca.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Anna Rusak, Health Promoter, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100, ext. 1216, or 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1216.

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