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Prevention and Beyond symposium on oral health priorities

Prevention and Beyond symposium on oral health priorities
The NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, opened the Prevention and Beyond Symposium with a message of the importance of collaboration between practitioners in the private sector, NSW Health and researchers. “In looking at the wider prevention strategies and partnerships, I would urge you to connect and familiarise yourself with the programs and strategies we are rolling out across the state.”
The symposium, held in Sydney on 5 October, was a joint initiative of the Centre for Oral Health Strategy and ADA NSW to bring together more than 80 experts in oral health to gain consensus on priority areas and identify opportunities to collaborate in areas that advance the dental profession, improve patient education and promote good oral hygiene. Reducing obesity rates and the state government’s Make Healthy Normal campaign were identified as government priorities. Dentists can support these initiatives through patient education – promoting tap water and highlighting the impact of added sugar on oral health.
“NSW Health is lucky to have a Premier’s priority of reducing childhood obesity. We have been implementing an evidenced-based strategy to reduce childhood obesity. It’s a target of 5 percent reduction over ten years. We are working intensively in childcare facilities and primary school across the state, which includes nutrition components, having water served as the preferred drink, and focusing on canteens in primary schools,” Dr Chant told the audience.
In welcoming delegates, ADA NSW President, Neil Peppitt said: “In the end, prevention is the best treatment.  As a generalisation, most of the other procedures we perform are really the result of poor prevention. A preventive approach is key to improving the oral health of all Australians. The current system is not really geared for it, so we as practitioners have to drive that change.”
Better access to dental treatment in aged care facilities also arose as a priority and a program run by Newcastle University in Central Coast aged care facilities, called Senior Smiles, was showcased.  
Connectivity and Communication: Community education and raising awareness of the connection between oral health and chronic disease, and connecting the dental profession with the medical profession also emerged as key priority areas where ADA NSW can work with the health department and academics. 


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