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TAKING ON TOOTH DECAY

- Free Fluoride Varnish Program to be Offered to All Local Kindergarten Students This Coming School Year -

A major expansion of a free dental program will help reduce the risk of tooth decay in hundreds of Kindergarten students in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes.

This coming school year, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit will offer its Fluoride Varnish program to all local children enrolled in Junior Kindergarten (JK) and Senior Kindergarten (SK). The goal of the program is to combat rates of childhood tooth decay in the region, a problem that typically affects up to 40 per cent of local JK and SK students who are screened by the Health Unit.

“Tooth decay is one of the most preventable childhood diseases, yet we still see many JK and SK students in the area who suffer from the problem,” says Anna Rusak, a Health Promoter with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Expanding the Fluoride Varnish program to schools will give a boost to a child’s oral health while reducing the risk of cavities, especially in our communities that do not have fluoride in the drinking water.”
Fluoride varnish is a protective coating that is brushed on a child’s teeth. The application of Fluoride Varnish is approved by Health Canada and the Canadian Dental Association, and can help prevent new cavities by making a child’s tooth enamel harder. While supporting oral health, Fluoride Varnish does not replace the need for children to regularly brush their teeth and visit the dentist.

Since 2013, the Health Unit has offered Fluoride Varnish applications to children attending local daycares. “Hundreds of preschoolers have already taken part in this program,” notes Rusak. “All children can benefit from getting two applications of fluoride varnish per year…every year. That is why we are really excited to be expanding this program and offering it to all Kindergarten students in the area.”

Information about the Fluoride Varnish program will be sent home with Kindergarten students in early September. The Fluoride Varnish program is totally free and voluntary, and will be offered in school. Fluoride Varnish will be applied to a child’s teeth by Health Unit staff – a process that only takes a few minutes to complete. Children who participate in the program will receive two applications of the fluoride varnish per year for the best results, once this fall and again next spring.

The Health Unit will also continue to provide the Fluoride Varnish program to local daycares.

Rusak notes that Fluoride Varnish is similar to the fluoride rinses that parents and caregivers may remember receiving in school when they were students.

People can find out more details about the Fluoride Varnish program 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.

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