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July 2014

Boy holding chalk jpeg

Dinath Silva, 5, is fascinated by the famous ‘Mrs Marsh’ chalk and the liquid demonstration of how fluoride gets into teeth.

Dad and daughter jpeg

Rosa Galban, 5, and her dad, Eugene with an oral health pack.

Still from old advert jpeg

A still from the ‘Mrs Marsh’ ad.

‘Mrs Marsh’ message still gets through

The legacy of the Australian television icon ‘Mrs Marsh’ will continue through a grant from Colgate that will help thousands of Victorian families improve their oral health.

Chief Executive Officer Deborah Cole said Dental Health Services Victoria would use the ‘Mrs Marsh’ grant to distribute oral health packs – through maternal and child health services in areas of Victoria with higher risk of diseases such as tooth decay – to encourage families to brush their teeth more frequently.

The grant is in honour of the late Barbara Callcott, who starred as Mrs Marsh in Colgate toothpaste advertisements during the 1970s and early 1980s.

‘Mrs Marsh was a role model that children loved and her message about keeping good oral health by brushing regularly with fluoride toothpaste continues even today,’ Dr Cole said.

According to the Maternal and Child Health Key Ages and Stages (KAS) evaluation, 49 per cent of children in Victoria were only brushing their teeth once a day and eight per cent were not brushing at all.

‘This is a trend we are looking to change by giving Victorians the information and the tools they need to look after their family’s oral health,’ Dr Cole said.

Parliamentary Secretary for Health Georgie Crozier said the grant would provide resources to help parents teach their children the importance of brushing.

‘Oral health is so important to general health and wellbeing and the three-year ‘Mrs Marsh’ grant will help us reach 7,500 families with oral health messages and resources through DHSV.

‘The ‘Mrs Marsh’ grant will allow maternal and child health nurses to have discussions with families about oral health and provide them with the tools to act on the messages,’ Ms Crozier said.

This work builds on the Tooth Packs project undertaken by Dental Health Services Victoria and uses existing partnerships with participating maternal and child health services.