Jo Woodward has had a busy few months.
As the Smiles 4 Miles Coordinator for Bairnsdale Regional Health Service (BRHS), she has been working with 22 childcare centres and preschools right across East Gippsland on ways they can encourage good oral health habits and healthy eating among children in their care.
This has included more than 700 children at centres from Omeo to Paynesville and everywhere in between.
Smiles 4 Miles is an initiative of Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) which aims to improve the oral health of children and their families in high risk areas across Victoria.
Over the past few years, BRHS’ Smiles 4 Miles program has grown, as parents and educators become increasingly aware of the vital importance of good oral health for young children.
Smiles 4 Miles focuses on encouraging childcare centres to provide healthy eating and drinking options to children, encouraging good brushing habits and regular check-ups at the dentist – “Drink well, Eat well and Clean well.”
“Things like juice and flavoured yoghurt and soft drinks have a lot of sugar in them, and that can cause problems for young kids’ teeth over time,” Jo says. “So we encourage always having water available, for example, and we help centres explore options for providing healthy meals and snacks.”
“If kids can get into healthy eating habits from a young age, it not only sets them on the right track for good dental health, it’s great for their overall health.”
BRHS provides free and low-cost dental services for children under 12 at our Community Health Centre, 48 Ross Street, Bairnsdale.
If you’re interested in your childcare centre or preschool participating in Smiles 4 Miles, reach out to Jo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about dental services at BRHS, visit www.brhs.com.au or call 5152.0222.