Big smiles for health focus at Bonshaw Kindergarten

Indiana and Deakin take a closer look at dental health. Picture: Lachlan Bence
Indiana and Deakin take a closer look at dental health. Picture: Lachlan Bence

BONSHAW Kindergarten children are taking a close-up look at caring for their teeth as part of a bigger health picture.

They are learning how a healthy mouth can play an important part in promoting a healthy diet and improve well-being.

Creating paper mouth collages, complete with polystyrene teeth and paper gums, has been a start for Dental Health Week. One child even put a bright red sore spot in his paper mouth. 

A giant tooth brush and teeth has been helping children to explore correct brushing techniques. 

But Bonshaw teacher Susan Scott said children and their families had been moving towards general healthier habits since the new kindergarten opened this term.

A lunchbox survey by teachers and assistants looks at what children are drinking (water is preferred), sandwich fillings and snacks.

“We’ve been promoting nude foods, so reduced wrappers, and found this has correlated with healthier food options,” Ms Scott said. “Nude foods are usually less of the high-sugar snacks, like homemade treats.

It's been interesting to see more children having healthier snacks, like baby tomatoes. It's important to set good habits from an early age.

Susan Scott, Bonshaw kindergarten teacher

Ballarat Health Services public dental clinical coordinator Jodie Robinson told The Courier earlier this week dental health and a balanced diet tended to be linked, for example, those with poor dental health were at higher risk for chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

One of the biggest concerns, Ms Robinson said, was how preventable oral disease is, yet only 50 per cent of Australians brush day and night.

Ms Scott said the health message at Bonshaw Kindergarten easily fit with children’s dental health awareness. They talk about how important it is to brush morning and night, how to use a rotating motion to brush your teeth clean and opting for less-sugary snacks.

Programs are focused on children’s well-being by beginning to take responsibility for their own health.

 Towards a Healthier Ballarat is a series partnering with Central Highlands Obesity Prevention Lab.