Healthy smiles the future for Western Bay of Plenty oral health challenge winners
22 December 2021
The children at an early childhood centre (ECC) are proud to show off their pearly whites after coming first in an annual oral health challenge.
ECCs across the Western Bay were invited to take part in the annual World Oral Health Day Challenge - organised by the Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) Oral Health Promotion team. Best Start Palm Springs, Papamoa is this year’s winner.
The top three placings were:
• 1st Best Start Palm Springs
• 2nd Best Start Montessori Bethlehem
• 3rd New Shoots Pyes Pa
Best Start Palm Springs Assistant Manager Katee Thomas was instrumental in the activities run during the challenge. She said the children at the centre really enjoyed taking part and learning about the importance of brushing their teeth.
“We went all in and found some really fun activities to engage the children and involve their parents and whānau,” she said. “The kids had such a blast.”
The activities included learning songs about brushing your teeth and washing your hands, colouring in teeth on a laminated poster and brushing the colour off with a toothbrush, and tooth decay experiments. Parents were encouraged to take photos of their children when they visited the dentist, and the children shared their photos and talked about their experience at mat time.
“There are approximately 70 children at the centre, and they range in age from 6 months to 5 years, so we tailored the activities to suit each age group. We have Lunchbox Friday at the centre where the older children learn about healthy food to have in their lunchboxes, and we provide them with healthy baking,” explained Katee.
BOPDHB Oral Health Promoter Nicole D’cruz thanked all those who were involved.
“I want to say a big thank you to all the early childhood centres that participated in this year’s Oral Health Challenge,” said Nicole. “Huge congratulations to Best Start Palm Springs for winning. They did a great job with the activities promoting good oral health, long term sustainable policies and they had great parent involvement.”
“Congratulations to Best Start Montessori Bethlehem for coming in second place and New Shoots Pyes Pa for coming in third. It’s been another challenging year due to COVID-19 so I appreciate the time and effort all the centres have put towards this year’s challenge. Ka pai te mahi.”
The theme for World Oral Health Day 2021 was: ‘Be Proud of Your Mouth’. It is a three-year campaign encouraging people to value and take care of their oral health and to make the right decisions to protect it. In year one, 2021, the focus is on how oral health affects our overall health.
Prizes for the winners included a big box of fruit and vegetables, toothbrushes and toothpaste and a large tooth model.