CSU students deliver dental care for kids

Carevan Foundation Sun Smiles program manager Cathryn Carboon
Carevan Foundation Sun Smiles program manager Cathryn Carboon

A volunteer team of Charles Sturt University (CSU) students, in partnership with the Carevan Foundation, have been awarded a $6000 community service grant to help Wodonga children in need of urgent dental care.

The grant was part of the Australian Dental Association Foundation (ADAF) and Wrigley Company Foundation Community Service Grants, which provide funding to volunteer dentists, dentistry students and teams of dental professionals, to help improve the oral health of Australians.

The Carevan Foundation’s Sun Smiles program aims to improve access to preventative dental care for primary school children in the Wodonga region by providing a school fluoride varnish program, dental screening and oral health education.

CSU Student Dental Association president Mr Ben Xouris said the project would incorporate third year oral health and fourth and fifth year dentistry students on placement at CSU in Albury-Wodonga.

“On behalf of the Charles Sturt University Student Dental Association we are proud and excited to be involved in the 2013 Carevan Sun Smiles project at Wodonga West Primary School,” he said.

“We would like to thank the Wrigley Company Foundation and the Australian Dental Association Foundation for their support of this worthwhile community project.”

Carevan Foundation Sun Smiles program manager, Cathryn Carboon, said the grant was urgently needed to continue the Sun Smiles program at the Wodonga West Primary School.

“Through a one year pilot program undertaken at the Wodonga West Primary School by Carevan, we found that 14 per cent of local children required urgent dental care, 89 per cent had never received a fluoride varnish treatment and a large number have not received a dental exam within the last year,” she said.

In addition to offering preventative dental care, the Sun Smiles program also teaches children about oral health life skills. Fluorescent disclosing gel is used to show children the link between dental plaque, caries and gum disease and children learn tooth brushing and flossing techniques. A Sun Smiles take-home kit for the children includes a Colgate fluoride toothpaste, toothbrush and oral health brochures.

The Carevan Foundation also provides the school children with nutritious food platters and milk drinks to raise awareness of the consumption of dairy foods, fruits and vegetables for good oral health.

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