Tooth-conscious toddlers 'Whakārohia te Māngai, Whakārohia te Hauora' to win oral health challenge

Tooth-conscious mokopuna have battled it out to be named the Eastern Bay's best for healthy mouths.

Sixteen Kōhanga across the Eastern Bay took part in the annual oral health challenge - organised by the Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) Oral Health Promotion team – and Murupara's Rangitahi Kōhanga Reo came out on top.

This year's theme of 'Whakārohia te Māngai, Whakārohia te Hauora' encouraged whānau to make the connection between their oral health and their general health and wellbeing. The BOPDHB Oral Health Promotion team challenged the Eastern Bay's Kōhanga Reo to do just that.

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Rangitahi Kōhanga Reo Kaiwhakahaere Moerangi Capper said the staff and children were thrilled to have won.

"We did a week of promotion and activities with our tamariki and made it as fun as possible," said Moerangi. "We taught them about kai that's good for your teeth and body, water being the best drink for you, the importance of brushing your teeth and how, and much more.

"The parents really got involved with helping create a vege garden at the Kōhanga as well, which was great," she added. "We had a whānau day where the parents built vege boxes from old pallets."

Moerangi said when parents enrol their tamariki at the Kōhanga they now also receive a dental enrolment form to have their child registered for free dental care. Rangitahi Kohanga Reo has 30 children on its roll, aged from 1-5.

Prizes included a big box of fruit and vegetables, water bottles, toothbrushes, toothpaste, certificates and laminated activities books. Oral Health Promoter Hatea Ruru congratulated the winners.

"Learning healthy habits early are important, because they are likely to transfer throughout life. He mihi nui tēnei ki ngā kaiako for the awesome work they do," said Hatea.

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