Beaming, healthy smiles are the future for an early childhood centre in the Western Bay after it triumphed in an annual oral health challenge.

Early childhood centres across the Western Bay were invited to take part in the annual World Oral Health Day Challenge - organised by the Bay of Plenty District Health Board Oral Health Promotion team.

Tauranga's The Tot Spot came out on top.

"It's a great promotion and it was wonderful to win, we certainly put a lot of work into it," said The Tot Spot teacher Cheryl Loveday.

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"We did lots of creative activities, we made mouths and teeth out of play-doh and paper, we had books, stories and songs on oral health, we dressed up as teeth, we watched movies, made fruit kebabs and smoothies, and did lunchbox promotions looking at healthy lunchboxes and drinking water.

"We also did practical life skills, taking the children to the supermarket where they bought their own food and then made healthy lunches together. We really tried to get them thinking about teeth, healthy food which is good for your teeth.

"We also made up charts for the children to take home, so the parents could support them in cleaning their teeth. We got great engagement from our children and our parents."

Prizes for the winners included a big box of fruit and vegetables, water bottles, toothbrushes, toothpaste, certificates and laminated activities books.

Oral health promoter Nicole D'Cruz congratulated The Tot Spot, which is licensed for 80 children on its roll and caters for three age groups: babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

"This was my first oral health challenge as part of the Oral Health Promotion team and I was so impressed with the work that all the centres submitted," said D'Cruz.

"I really enjoyed working with Tot Spot as they were so enthusiastic about participating in the challenge and they did such a great job.

"We were very impressed with the time and effort they took into completing the challenge activity book and it looked like the children learnt a lot about good oral health behaviours. Well done Tot Spot and all the other centres who participated," she said.

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The theme for World Oral Health Day 2019 was "Say Ahh: Act on Mouth Health". The message behind this theme was a motivational one for individuals to take charge of their own oral health, by taking specific action to prevent oral disease and safeguard their overall health.

The full results in the Western Bay were:

Winners - The Tot Spot Early Learning Centre

2nd Place - Maketu EduCare

3rd Place - Above and Beyond Tauriko