On November 20, dental hygienists will celebrate Universal Children’s Day, reminding us all of the importance of protecting and promoting children’s rights, including the right to good oral health.
As Gerry Cool, president of the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA), explains, “Optimal oral health is the cornerstone of overall physical, social, and mental well-being. CDHA firmly believes that people of all ages and circumstances have a right to high-quality oral health care.” Tooth decay, a highly preventable disease, is a growing concern in Canada, particularly among children given the increase in global sugar consumption. For this reason, CDHA has joined the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future, whose primary goal is to ensure that every child born in 2026 and thereafter will remain cavity free throughout their lifetime. As a member of the alliance, CDHA urges governments at all levels to invest in oral health care programs that emphasize oral disease prevention and oral health education.
While primary health care providers like dental hygienists are working to improve the oral health of Canada’s children, parents and guardians at home have a role to play too. Children’s earliest experiences influence their future development, so parents and guardians must help to instill good oral hygiene habits from the beginning. Help your children to brush twice a day for two minutes and to clean between their teeth. Promote healthy food choices and the use of fluoride, keep sugary treats and juices to a minimum, and arrange regular dental visits for your children once the first tooth erupts. Cool adds, “Working together, policy makers, primary health care providers like dental hygienists, and family caregivers will give all of our children something to smile about!”
Serving the profession since 1963, CDHA is the collective national voice of more than 28,495 registered dental hygienists working in Canada, directly representing 18,000 individual members including dental hygienists and students. Dental hygiene is the 6th largest registered health profession in Canada with professionals working in a variety of settings, including independent dental hygiene practice, with people of all ages, addressing issues related to oral health. For more information on oral health, visit: www.dentalhygienecanada.ca.