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FACT, NOT FICTION

- Lack of Fluoride in Local Drinking Water Means Families Should Brush Up Even More on Good Oral Health Habits -

It may be absent from local drinking water, but it should not be a missing element from your family’s daily dental routine.

It is fluoride, which is a natural substance found in rocks and soil. Fluoride is also beneficial for helping to reduce or prevent tooth decay. While nature puts some fluoride into all water, many municipalities will add additional levels of fluoride to their drinking water systems. For decades, this fluoridation process has helped to reduce tooth decay in communities around the world.

However, it may be a surprise for some people to learn that fluoride is not added to any drinking water system in Haliburton County, Northumberland County or the City of Kawartha Lakes. For this reason, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is encouraging local parents and caregivers to ensure their children follow good oral health habits for life. The Health Unit’s message comes during Oral Health Month in April.

“The lack of fluoride in local drinking water is one of the reasons why this area has a higher rate of childhood tooth decay than in other places,” says Anna Rusak, an Oral Health Promoter with the HKPR District Health Unit. “That makes it important for families to help prevent cavities by encouraging regular brushing and flossing every day.”

Dental screening done by the Health Unit in local schools shows approximately 37 per cent of Junior and Senior Kindergarten students suffer from tooth decay. To help remedy this, the Health Unit advises families to brush up on their oral health habits.

“Brush your child’s teeth as soon as they appear by using a very small amount of fluoridated toothpaste at least twice a day, especially before bedtime,” Rusak says. “You will also want to help children brush their teeth, even up to eight years of age, so they know how to properly care for their teeth.”

Both flossing each day, as well as regular visits to the dentist, can help to prevent cavities and tooth decay in children. “Taking care of our oral health benefits our overall health,” Rusak notes.

Area residents can get more tips and resources to help them improve their oral health by calling the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577 or clicking here. By contacting the Health Unit, people can also learn more about:

• Financial assistance programs that may be available for children and teenagers up to the age of 17 years to help cover or offset the cost of dental care.

• A free fluoride varnish program, which is provided to children in local daycares. Fluoride varnish is a protective coating brushed on teeth that helps prevent cavities. It is free, very easy and quick.

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For media inquiries, contact:

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

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