Fri | Oct 19, 2018

Students improve oral-health awareness

Published:Friday | November 10, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Lovely smiles from students at the Oral Health Competition in Manchester at the Cecil Charlton Hall.
This duo from the Hayes Primary & Junior High School deliver an energetic and sizzling performance in the deejay competition in Clarendon.
Winners of the Quiz Competition, Brixton Hill Primary School, listen intently to Quiz Master and Manchester Dental Auxiliary Coordinator, Louise Watson-Tomlin, at the competition staged by the Clarendon Health Department.
Bright smiles and an energetic performance from this New Forest Primary School group as they deliver their piece for the Dub Poetry competition in the Manchester Oral Health Competition.

The Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) 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 SRHA, 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 saw dental-health competitions in October.

Each year, at these competitions, the students are evaluated through exciting and anticipated quizzes, poster, dub poetry and deejay competitions.

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 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, 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 in instilling 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 practised 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," Bent said.

In October, exciting competitions were held by the Clarendon Health Department dental health team at the St Gabriel's Anglican Church Hall in Clarendon and at the Cecil Charlton Hall in Manchester by the Manchester Health Department's dental-health team.