What is the Children’s Oral Health Initiative (COHI)?
COHI is an early childhood tooth decay prevention program aimed at children aged 0 to 7, their caregivers and pregnant women living on-reserve or accessing on-reserve resources.
The goal of the initiative is to improve oral health and well-being. COHI aims to promote a lifetime of oral health by preventing tooth decay, treating and restoring teeth that already have tooth decay, improving oral health knowledge, and reducing the number of First Nations children that require general anesthesia for dental surgeries.
What are the goals of COHI?
- Improve access to services that help prevent cavities and gum disease
- Encourage early first dental visits
- Prevent and manage tooth decay
- Promote regular dental visits
- Teach and promote the use of simple preventative techniques
- Reduce the need for treatment under general anaesthetics (when children are put to sleep)
- Guide children and families on healthy choices for good oral health, general health and nutrition
How does COHI help children?
- Prevent and reduce pain related to teeth and gums
- Reduce the need for tooth extraction
- Improve the appearance of the smile
- Improve self-esteem
- Improve speech
- Improve the health of gums and teeth and overall general health and quality of life
Who delivers COHI services?
- Registered Dental Hygienist
- Dental Aide worker
COHI services are provided in the following communities:
- Black River
- Hollow Water
- Berens River
- Poplar River
- Little Grand Rapids
COHI services include:
- Annual dental screening – visual inspection of the teeth and gums
- Fluoride varnish applications - to help prevent or slow down cavities and strengthen the outer layer of teeth (minimum 2 per year)
- Silver Diamine Fluoride – applied directly to cavities to instantly stop decay and prevents it from spreading to other teeth
- Dental sealant placements to help prevent cavities
- Temporary fillings
- One-on-one or group oral-health education
- Referrals – to a dentist or specialist if determined the child needs further treatment
These services do not require local anesthetic (freezing).
Stephanie West, Dental Hygienist
Nicole Arch, Dental Hygienist
Kayleigh Fourre, Dental Aide Worker