The Fono

Health & Social Services

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Oral Health Training Day

Now in its second year, a partnership between Auckland University of Technology’s (AUT) Oral Health Faculty and The Fono is upskilling social and community workers in the area of oral health. The project aims to share knowledge between front-line staff working in the community and current and future oral health practitioners to improve the oral health of the community.

Piloted in 2017, a partnership between AUT and The Fono to educate social and community workers in various aspects of oral health is improving oral health awareness in the community.

AUT’s oral health students are required to undertake an annual community outreach project as part of their coursework, and The Fono is a willing participant.

“It’s part of our responsibility as a community oral health provider to promote good oral health practices,” says Dr Mowafaq Amso, Clinical Director of Dental at The Fono.

“This partnership helps to equip our community and social workers with tools to educate the community, as they’re the ones on the front lines and have the best access to the people that need this information the most.”

The programme also allows The Fono’s social and community workers to share their knowledge of what’s happening in the community.

“It provides a forum for them to feedback their own knowledge and insight, which helps us to shape our information to engage with the community it’s aimed at,” says Mow.

“The team can intercept any problems and feed these back to the dental team.”

Two sessions were held.

The first focused on oral health for 0-5 year olds and messages were targeted at parents / families, with The Fono’s Family Start, Family Support and Whanau Ora teams in attendance.

The second was on smoking and oral health, focusing on smokers and their families. Whanau Ora, Enua Ola, Family Start, Ready Steady Quit Stop Smoking Quit Coaches, Family Support and Screening Services workers attended.

Mow says the AUT oral health students employed a range of techniques to get key messages across.

“The students used a song to educate children on brushing and flossing techniques,” he says.

“They also employed the use of technology, such as mobile phone apps, multimedia, computers and audiovisual tools to convey oral health messages.”

The sessions were well received, and the hope is that more people in the community will improve their oral health as a result.

Oral Health Tips for 0 – 5 year olds

  • Start brushing your children’s teeth as soon as they come through
  • Use adult fluoride tooth paste
    • For children under 5, use a smear of paste on the tooth brush
    • For children over 5, use a pea-sized amount on the tooth brush
  • Dental care for under 18 year olds is FREE
    • From birth till 13 years of age, children are seen by the School Dental Services (SDS). To find out your nearest clinic, call 0800 TALK TEETH
    • From 13 years (school year 9) to the teen’s 18th birthday, they can see a private dentist for their care. All Fono clinics welcome teenagers.

Oral Health and Smoking

  • Smoking is proven to be one cause of oral cancer
  • Drinking alcohol PLUS smoking is associated with a much higher risk of developing cancer in general, and oral cancer specifically
  • The Fono has a free smoking cessation service based in Central Auckland, North Shore and West Auckland. To access, contact Hira Harema