ARARAT - St Mary's Primary School students have just completed their first year of dental visits as part of the East Grampians Health Service's Happy Mouths Happy Kids program.
"Happy Mouths Happy Kids is an exciting and innovative community based program that combines oral and general health education with direct intervention to achieve better health outcomes within the primary school environment," East Grampians Health Service project officer, Anna Greene said.
"Tooth decay is Victoria's most prevalent health problem and children under 14 years in the Ararat region have higher dental caries (tooth decay) admission rates, than the Victorian average."
Mrs Greene said Happy Mouths Happy Kids provides local primary school aged children the opportunity to access community based health promotion and prevention programs, including a 12 month dental program and healthy eating projects with local dentists and dieticians.
The positive health messages will then be reinforced through curriculum based activities and visits from EGHS's health professionals.
"Thanks to community funding, such as a Pacific Hydro grant and other philanthropic grants, we have been able to continue our positive oral and general health education and dental program into all four primary schools in Ararat," Mrs Greene said.
"The strong participation numbers, community interest and positive health outcomes continue to highlight how beneficial and worthwhile this program is.
"The program continues to attract outside interest and we hope to continue developing a tangible model that can be replicated throughout our surrounding primary school communities."