Early Intervention screening is vital for young children to help identify any health, developmental or other problems that may affect their growth, learning & development.
This month, our Aboriginal Early Childhood Developmental Outreach Day (AECDOD) was a huge success with over 50 community members plus several service providers attending on the day.
Due to the huge demand and interest from our previous Outreach Day, The School dentist, a mobile service, provided additional staff and an extra dental chair to accommodate the large number of bookings and resulted in 29 children accessing the dental clinic on the day.
We were thrilled that so many children were able to access the dental clinic with dental hygiene playing an important role in a children’s overall health.
It is important for young children to be visiting the dentist regularly, at least once a year, to help to maintain their oral health. During a dental check-up, the dentist can provide tips on good oral hygiene techniques like brushing and flossing, pick up and address any oral hygiene problems to prevent them from getting worse, as well as providing a thorough clean to remove plaque, tartar or surface stains preventing bacteria from sticking to teeth. Bacteria can cause cavities and tooth decay which left untreated can cause damage to tooth structure, lead to infections and/or the need for costly procedures such as fillings or extractions.
Poor dental hygiene in early childhood can also cause baby teeth to fall out sooner, moving permanent teeth forward, which can result in teeth growing crooked or out of place.
Diseased, crooked and or missing teeth can impact speech, make chewing food difficult and/or painful and lead to the need for corrective procedures.
Research has linked periodontal disease to other health problems such as heart complications, stroke, diabetes complications and respiratory disease.
Another valuable service on the day was the Mister Germ Handwashing & Hygiene Program delivered by Public Health. This program focuses on a variety of fun, visual, verbal and hands on activities that help children become more aware of what germs are, how they spread sickness and prevention. The program teaches children that handwashing is the best barrier to disease transmission and how they can wash their hands properly.
This is a vital skill for children who are vulnerable to infectious disease due to exposure to germs in care, immature immune systems and behaviours that spread germs such as thumb sucking, putting objects in their mouth and lack of control of bodily fluids.
The program is presented in a fun and memorable way using Mister Germ & The Germinator costumes. Mister Germ is a bad guy who spreads germs and The Germinator, is the good guy who teaches children about germs and is a newly created character after suggestion from Aboriginal Elder, Martin Ballangarry.
On the day parents were provided with information on the importance of immunisation, Lifestart talked about ‘How the NDIS can help their child, the NCNS Community Development team delivered a Healthy Eating Workshop and NCNS Early Childhood team provided information about our Supported Playgroups and were able to engage two new families into our Kooly Aboriginal Supported Playgroup.
Families were able to link in to services through My Gov, as well connecting with staff from Uniting & The Aboriginal Ability Links Team, Penrith City Council Children’s Services and the Building Strong Foundations Team from Cranebrook Community Health.
While families were able to find out information about services, children were entertained with an assortment of exhilarating activities including Tumbletown, art, craft and sensory play.
Community were also treated to beverages from the coffee van, cakes, fruit platters as well as a BBQ lunch.
With the demand for the dental clinic being high once again, we have visits from the Dental Clinic planned for next year. The next dental clinic dates are Thursday 18th April 2019, 11th July 2019 & 3rd October 2019.
If you want to know more about the Dental Clinic in 2019, are interested in our Supported Playgroups or have any other questions for our Early Childhood team please contact Carolyn on (02) 4729 0442/ 0438 690 777.