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April 2015

2 young boys with giant model teeth and toothbrush jpeg
Khai Khai and Stephen Best, both five, at Ringwood Uniting Church Kindergarten.

4 women with award jpeg

EACH community development worker Zoe Rust, Ringwood Uniting Church Kindergarten educator Kate Braunthal, Dental Health Services Victoria CEO Deborah Cole and EACH Health Promotion Officer Maria Nicolaou.

All smiles at kinder

Ringwood Uniting Church Kindergarten has received a Smiles 4 Miles award.

Smiles 4 Miles is an oral health and healthy eating program for early childhood services developed by Dental Health Services Victoria.

It is implemented in partnership with EACH Social and Community Health throughout the Maroondah and Yarra Valley region.

Dental Health Services Victoria Chief Executive Officer Deborah Cole said Smiles 4 Miles was helping the youngest members of the community improve their oral health now and into the future.

‘Tooth decay is largely preventable and Smiles 4 Miles will help our young Victorians maintain healthy teeth through the simple key messages of Drink well, Eat well and Clean well,’ Dr Cole said.

‘Oral health is important for general health and wellbeing and we want to make sure our young people start out with healthy teeth and mouths.’

EACH works closely with local kindergarten and childcare services to achieve Smiles 4 Miles awards.

Centres work on implementing healthy eating and oral health policies, training staff, engaging with families about the importance of oral health and educating children through a variety of fun learning experiences.

‘Early learning sets up good patterns of behaviour for later life,’ said EACH health promotion manager Maggie Palmer.

‘By promoting good oral health behaviours early in life, we can decrease the likelihood of poor oral and overall health later in life.’

Ringwood Uniting Church Kindergarten educator Kate Braunthal said Smiles 4 Miles had helped improve the oral health of not only the children but families and educators too.

‘We all learnt so much and saw a huge improvement in the nutritional value of the food and drink children were bringing for their lunch.

‘We look forward to participating in the program again this year.’