May 24, 2023

Supervised toothbrushing programme gains momentum

Clare visits Northland to see progress in person.

11 schools in the Far North region are successfully implementing a unique supervised toothbrushing programme, with bright smiles seen all round on a recent trip by Anne-marie Maikuku, Strategic Funding Lead for Oral Health at Clare.

Created by the Northland DHB with funding from Clare, more than 4,000 children are anticipated to be part of the programme, with life-long dental hygiene habits being taught every day at school, where students brush with their gifted toothbrush and toothpaste under the supervision of an oral health supervisor. 

From catching up with the oral health manager to hear of her big thinking around service delivery from cradle to grave, to learning more about the importance of Northland community networks, Anne-marie saw first hand the delicate coordination needed to ensure that a programme of this scale has impact.

“The beauty of the trip was observing the implementation of the programme – as the goal remained the same for each school however the delivery varied in which came down to the freedom of allowing each school to roll out the programme as they saw fit,” says Anne-marie. “There is such complexity involved and it takes the right people who love and live for their communities to make it happen.”

An intentional consciousness around health and safety, team work, participation and the environmental footprint this programme leaves up is setting up this programme to be transformative for the children involved and set an excellent precedent for future programmes nationwide.