PROGRAMS & CAMPAIGNS
Abu Dhabi Smiles: Oral Health Program
Improving the oral health status of the Abu Dhabi population is one of DoH’s key Public Health Goals. It is an area of health that is often overlooked, yet plays an important role in an individual’s general health and well-being, as well their ability to eat, speak and socialize.
Good oral hygiene is something that is essential from an early age, mindful of this, we launched Abu Dhabi Smiles. A school-based program, it provides awareness and advice on good oral hygiene practices for both parents and children. One of the key reasons for focusing on schools is that poor oral hygiene and problems, such as dental caries, can affect a child’s ability to learn, communicate and progress at school.
The program’s launch followed a WHO Global School Health Survey in 2010, which identified that 14.5% of 2,581 UAE students surveyed hadn’t cleaned their teeth in the last 30 days. A SEHA School Health Services Screening Program conducted in the same year resulted in 59% of the 2,492 students screened in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain being referred to a dentist.
Abu Dhabi Smiles has been introduced in both public and private schools and is focused on children between the ages of 5-11 years. It was launched in 2012 with the following objectives:
- Increase knowledge about common oral health issues and their causes.
- Increase knowledge about ways to protect teeth.
- Increase knowledge about steps to take to improve oral health.
- Increase frequency and effectiveness of oral health practices (brushing teeth, flossing and visiting the dentist).
The program promotes several key messages for children and parents to follow:
Children (Ages 5 - 11):
- Brush your teeth twice a day.
- Use floss once a day.
- Remind your parents that you need a dentist check-up twice a year.
- Brush with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
- Avoid eating too many sweets.
- Encourage teeth cleaning as part of a daily routine from the age of 2.
- Supervise your child when brushing their teeth until they have the appropriate skills.
- Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day will prevent teeth decay.
- Talk to your child's dentist.
- Healthy foods = healthy teeth.