The mouth is the gateway to the body. A healthy mouth is essential for a healthy body. Research shows that oral health problems can negatively affect general health and well-being and impact on school performance. In Simcoe Muskoka, oral health problems account for 100,000 lost school days per year, and 410,000 restricted activity days per year. (SMDHU Oral Health Report, 2009)
Teens are more influenced by their peers than family and exert their independence by making choices and taking risks that can affect their oral health. Oral health behaviours may change such as consuming more sugary foods and drinks, brushing less frequently and using tobacco. The incidence of tooth decay in teen years is higher than many other age groups especially in communities without fluoridation. Due to changes in hormonal levels teens often have an exaggerated response to plaque in the mouth and have more increased levels of gingivitis or more severe gingivitis.
Educators can play a vital role in helping students get reliable oral health information and access to oral health care.
The health unit offers a variety of services to support dental health of students, including supports for students who are in need of financial support to access emergency or routine dental care.
In addition to these health unit services, the health unit also offers a variety of programs and services for secondary schools (PDF), covering a wide range of health-related topics.
Also, be sure to visit the dental health section of the health unit’s website for more information related to health unit dental health services, and preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
Are you concerned about a student and/or would like additional information related to counselling or community supports? Find out where to get help.