Tooth-conscious mokopuna win health challenge

Oral health promoter Hatea Ruru, left, congratulates Qwen Tangira, from Te Kiriwera Hana Kōhanga Reo. Supplied images.

Children and their parents have triumphed in an Eastern Bay of Plenty oral health challenge.

Kohanga Reo from across the Eastern Bay were invited to enter the annual challenge, run by the Bay of Plenty District Health Board’s oral health promotion team, which looks at initiatives employed by kohanga reo to inspire tamariki and their whanau towards greater oral health awareness and practice.

The winner is Te Kiriwera Hana Kōhanga Reo in Te Teko and kaiako Quintin Kessun says they are surprised but delighted to have won.

“It was great for the tamariki to win, they were very excited about it,” says Quintin.

The staff of Te Kiriwera Hana engaged in lots of activities to get the tamariki thinking about their oral health.

“We took them on visits to the dentist, trying to make it fun for them, so that it was a pleasant experience and not something to be afraid of.

“We sang songs about cleaning and looking after our teeth; we had big models of a tooth and toothbrush which they really enjoyed; we spoke repeatedly about the benefits and importance of regular brushing; used diagrams showing the difference between healthy teeth and unhealthy teeth; emphasised the five-a-day messaging, drinking water and no fizzy drinks or lollies; and we got the parents involved as much as possible as well, which was really important.”

Prizes included a big box of fruit and vegetables, water bottles, toothbrushes, toothpaste, certificates and laminated activities books.

Oral health promoter Hatea Ruru congratulates the winners.

“Good oral health is an important part of general health. Take care of your mouth to protect your mouth, body and spiritual well-being. He mihi nui ki ngā whānau o ngā kohanga reo for the awesome work they do.”

The challenge was based on the theme for World Oral Health Day 2019 ‘Say Ahh… Act on Mouth Health’.

The message behind this theme is a motivational one for individuals to take charge of their own oral health, by taking specific action to prevent oral disease and safeguard their overall health.


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