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CARE TO BE CAVITY-FREE

- Fluoride Varnish Applications Now Available Free-of-Charge to More Children and Teens in Area -

There is even more reason to smile, now that an oral health program has been expanded to cover more children and youth in the area.

Children and teenagers up to 17 years of age in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes are now eligible for free Fluoride Varnish applications from the Health Unit. Fluoride varnish is a protective coating 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.

During Oral Health Month in April, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is highlighting the fact that the Fluoride Varnish applications are being offered on an appointment basis in its offices in Lindsay and Port Hope. Local families are encouraged to find out more about the Fluoride Varnish program by calling the Health Unit toll-free at 1-888-599-9399 or by clicking here.

“This is a huge plus for local families, as expanding the Fluoride Varnish program locally will give a boost to the oral health of children and youth in our area while helping to reduce their risk of cavities,” says Anna Rusak, an Oral Health Promoter with the HKPR District Health Unit.

The Fluoride Varnish program is being expanded as part of changes to Healthy Smiles Ontario, the provincial program that helps cover or offset the cost of dental care for Ontario families. The expansion of the Fluoride Varnish program also reflects the fact that no communities in the Health Unit area – which includes Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes – currently add fluoride to their municipal drinking water systems, Rusak adds.

Since 2013, the Health Unit has been offering the Fluoride Varnish program at local daycares. At the start of the 2015/16 school year, the free Fluoride Varnish program was expanded to include all Junior and Senior Kindergarten students in the Health Unit region. While participation in the program was voluntary, the Fluoride Varnish applications have proven very popular with local families, according to Rusak. This school year alone, approximately 1,200 JK and SK students in the Health Unit region have registered to receive the Fluoride Varnish applications.

“We’re certainly pleased to be able to offer all eligible students – right through elementary and high school – the same access to the Fluoride Varnish program as younger children in daycares and Kindergarten,” Rusak adds.

Local families are also reminded that the Health Unit offers other preventive dental services, including sealants, scaling and oral health instruction. People can also contact the Health Unit for help accessing the Healthy Smiles Ontario program to see if they qualify for financial assistance to cover or offset the costs of dental care.

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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