Zoo partnership to focus on kids’ oral health

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A new partnership focusing on better dental health for children has been launched between Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) and Zoos Victoria.

Launched earlier this week on World Oral Health Day, the new initiative will see children and families engaged through preventative awareness programs where oral health is linked to learning through interaction.

DHSV CEO Dr Deborah Cole said that with one in every 1,000 children aged 0-4 years hospitalised for treatment of decay, a new approach was needed to tackle the growing epidemic of poor oral health.

“We are extremely proud of our early prevention programs such as Smiles 4 Miles, Healthy Families etc. but we need to do more—and this new partnership will allow us to reach even more children across the state that need oral health care,” she said.

The partnership between DHSV and the Werribee Open Range Zoo will be aligned to the hippopotamus enclosure as hippos require their teeth to be cleaned every day like humans.

Zoos Victoria CEO Dr Jenny Gray said: “It is terrific to be able to partner with Dental Health Services Victoria to engage our visitors about the importance of oral health not just for themselves, but also for our animals.

“Like humans, hippos need to take great care of their teeth and our keepers brush their teeth and gums daily to help keep them clean and healthy,” she said.

“Through our partnership with DHSV, we hope to help make this task easier for parents by making children recognise and understand the importance of brushing their teeth regularly.”

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