smiles 4 miles

Smiles 4 Miles is an initiative of Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV), which aims to improve the oral health of children and their families in high risk areas across Victoria.

Tooth decay is Australia's most common health problem. Smiles 4 Miles assists early childhood services to encourage and promote good oral health habits and healthy eating among children in their care.

Hands Up Mallee delivers this program locally at Sunraysia Community Health Services Dental Centre as part of the World Health Organisation's Health Promoting School's Framework, an internationally recognised best practice approach.

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why is smiles 4 miles important?

Every child is at risk of tooth decay. The good news is that tooth decay is largely preventable. However 1 in 3 children aged five and under who attended Victorian public health clinics in 2010-11 experienced tooth decay.

Establishing sound oral health and healthy eating habits from an early age gives children the best chance of maintaining good oral health in adulthood.

what are the key oral health messages promoted through smiles 4 miles?

Drink well:

  • Tap water is the preferred drink

  • Limit sugary drinks (especially between meals

  • Choose plain milk over flavoured

Eat well:

  • Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods every day from the five food groups

  • Limit foods containing added sugars

  • Health meals and snacks are important for healthy teeth

Clean well:

  • Brush teeth and along the gum line twice a day

  • Children should use a low-fluoride children's toothpaste from 18 months until they turn six

  • Don't wait for a problem. A child should see a health professional (Maternal and Child Health Nurse, Dentist, Oral Health Therapist, Dental Therapist or General practitioner) by the age of two for an oral health check

  • An oral health professional will discuss a child's risk level and how frequently they need to visit for an oral health check

what does smiles 4 miles offer early childhood services

Smiles 4 Miles offers Early Childhood Services a great opportunity to promote good oral health habits and healthy eating in children using a sound, internationally recognised approach with local support.

  • Managed by Dental Health Services Victoria, Victoria’s leading public dental agency and supported locally by Hands Up Mallee – health and community professionals based in your local area help you implement the program

  • Free professional development training for early childhood professionals and refresher training for services that have already been trained - to enhance the oral health knowledge and skills of educators

  • Practical resources to implement the program - such as the Smiles 4 Miles program toolkit, policy templates, curriculum ideas, and more

  • Fact sheets and newsletter inserts to share with families - practical tips and ideas to promote good oral health behaviours, healthy eating, and information on local dental services

  • Receive a Smiles 4 Miles award – recognition as a service that creates a healthy environment for children.

  • Works in partnership with the Healthy Eating Advisory Service and the Achievement Program. Services that achieve their Smiles 4 Miles award will be eligible for advanced standing for the healthy eating and oral health benchmark of the Achievement Program.

For more information on Smiles 4 Miles in Mildura contact:

Si’i Taufalele - Health Promotion Officer & Smiles 4 Miles Coordinator

Phone: 03 5025 9608