The Southern Regional Health Authority has been making great strides in instilling a culture of good oral health practices among children in the southern end of the island.
Regional Dental Auxiliaries Coordinator for the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), Ms. Juliet Powell explained that each year the dental teams in the parishes of Manchester, Clarendon and St. Elizabeth work with several schools at the primary and secondary levels to promote good oral health education among the students; an initiative which is in preparation for oral health competitions in the month of October.
She added that each year at the oral health competitions, the students are evaluated through exciting and anticipated oral quiz, poster, dub poetry and deejay competitions.
Ms. Powell noted that through these competitions, the SRHA dental teams have seen an increased awareness about oral health among students which have translated into good oral health practices within their families. She added that this initiative has also fostered a good relationship between dental staff and schools in the respective parishes.
Meanwhile, Regional Director for the SRHA, Mr. Michael Bent pointed out that with Jamaica’s high prevalence of non-communicable diseases or lifestyle diseases, “it is imperative that Jamaicans understand that many of the same risk factors for non-communicable diseases are linked to the development of dental health problems.”
He added that while the dental teams across the island must be commended for the various strategies used to educate citizens about the importance of oral health to their general health care and well being, parents have an integral role to play to instill simple yet important practices in their children such as eating healthy, brushing daily and flossing.
“It is important to understand that if proper oral health care is encouraged at an early stage, it is likely that this will be practiced throughout a person’s adult life. Research has proven that serious conditions such as diabetes and heart diseases are linked to cavities and gum disease which ultimately have an adverse impact on the health sector” Mr. Bent said.
This year, exciting competitions were held by the Clarendon Health Department dental health team on Thursday October 26 at the St. Gabriel’s Anglican Church Hall in Clarendon and at the Cecil Charlton Hall in Manchester on Monday, October 30 by the Manchester Health Department dental health team.