New Smile Ambassadors named

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New Smile Ambassadors namedDental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) yesterday officially announced Carol Cooke AM and Mariam Issa as the 2016 Smile Ambassadors, at the 2015 Public Oral Health Awards in Melbourne.

Paralympic Gold medallist Carol Cooke and refugee advocate Mariam Issa were awarded dual ambassadorship. Both are also successful authors and community workers.

“I accepted the ambassadorship because I think it is important to get the message out to every demographic of the population how important our dental health is,’’ says Carol who was recently named female Para-cyclist of the year.

“Our health really starts with our teeth and oral health because if that fails a lot of other health related things do as well. Make sure you look after your oral health.”

Mariam said she hoped she could contribute to letting everyone know that oral health is part of better health.

“What drives me is the need for a just and equal world for humanity, where everyone is treated with the dignity they deserve. Oral health is very important and a big part of our holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle so don’t neglect it,” she says.

DHSV CEO, Dr Deborah Cole said it was “an absolute delight to have two talented and dedicated women as our dual 2016 Smile of the Year.”

“I am sure they will both make an excellent contribution in raising the awareness of oral health and the need oral health to be recognised as being part of overall general health.”

“DHSV remains committed to treating as many eligible patients as possible and extending our reach into the communities that need treatment and care.”

The two replace this year’s Smile Ambassador, Father Bob Brown. The role helps to bring awareness to oral health issues. With more than half of all children and almost all adults affected by tooth decay it is now also the second most costly diet-related disease in Australia.

Speaking on World Oral Health Day earlier this year, Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) CEO Dr Deborah Cole said dental health disease affects more children in Australia than any other disease.

“We are at the point now where staff in dental clinics are seeing younger and younger people with completely no natural teeth left as a result of oral disease,” Dr Cole said.

“As a whole everybody needs to take a more serious approach to early intervention and where possible extend our reach as far as possible in treating those most affected in isolated parts of the State and communities at risk.”

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “Despite the fact this is largely preventable tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood. Worldwide, 60 to 90 per cent of school children have cavities.”

Perhaps most worrying, considering the prevalence of the issue in our children, is the fact that tooth decay in early childhood is a significant predictor of long-term dental health problems.

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