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Wednesday 6th December 2017

Toddlers take care of baby teeth to win oral health challenge

A Western Bay Kohanga Reo has spread the good dental hygiene message to win a regional Te Wero Oranga-a-Waha (oral health challenge).

Te Kohanga Reo o Ōpopoti, in Maungatapu, won the challenge for Western Bay of Plenty. The week-long challenge, organised by the Bay of Plenty District Health Board's (BOPDHB) Oral Health Promotion team, had a theme of "He tino taonga ngā niho pēpi" ('baby teeth are important').

"We are so excited to have won," said Ōpopoti's Kaiwhakahaere (Administrator) Hinewai Manihera. "The children and parents really got involved throughout the whole week, which was great.

"We challenged our parents to produce creative pictures of the children brushing their teeth and had some great responses, including one in a superman outfit. They really got into the spirit of it."

The week featured lessons on good and bad kai, the importance of toothbrushing, and making fruit smoothies, as well as the writing of a healthy teeth waiata (song). The fun activities were recorded in a scrapbook to promote and nurture good oral health for life.

18 children took part in the challenge and the lessons learned have hit home. Most of the children were brushing their teeth every day now said Hinewai. Prizes included water bottles; toothbrushes and toothpaste; and a box of fruit and vegetables. All participants also got certificates and a laminated copy of their scrapbook.

Kuia Paraihe Coulthard said the experience had been very positive.

"Everyone enjoyed it. You could see how excited the children were when the toothbrushes and toothpaste were brought in; it was lovely and children remember these things. It helps reinforce those positive, healthy messages."

BOPDHB Oral Health Promoter Hatea Ruru congratulated every participating Kohanga and said the standard of the challenge had been very high. He was delighted with their commitment and effort to promote oral health in their setting and wider.

"Looking after baby teeth sets the foundation for looking after adult teeth" he said. 

Toddlers take care
Photo caption: Staff, parents and children of Te Kohanga Reo o Opopoti celebrate after being presented with their prizes by BOPDHB Oral Health Promoter Hatea Ruru (back row far left).

For more information:

James Fuller
Communications Advisor
Bay of Plenty District Health Board
027 839 1791

Last updated: December 6, 2017