Jamaica Gleaner / 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.


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