To provide interactive, enthusiastic and educational dental health presentations to teachers, parents and children in communities surrounding Edmonton, AB. I hope to reach more and more children each year by volunteering my presentations and also in partnership with the support and sponsorship of local dentists helping me “bridge the gap” to provide much needed dental education to local school children. Grade 1 students are generally the program’s focus as at this age, children are usually brushing and flossing independently and getting their 6 year molars. But of course the presentation can be modified for other grades.
Dental education is my passion. In private clinical practice we only have so much time with clients and their families. Luckily in my career I have worked for a fantastic office where I can take the time to educate my patients, however teaching children in a school setting is an interactive, unique experience I love. Unfortunately you see a lot of children with significant decay in dental offices. I was startled to learn that decay is responsible for 30% of all of Canada’s preschool children’s day surgeries and require general anaesthetic. Only 45% of Canada is fluoridated currently- 60% of children in Canada have or have had dental decay with even higher percentages in low socioeconomic families that generally do not even reach the dental office yearly. Tooth decay is the most common chronic preventable childhood disease (5x more common than asthma which is second). Over 35% of Canadians report having their last visit to a dentist more than a year ago which is close to the percentage of Canadians that do not have a dental insurance plan- this is a significant barrier to dental care. Canada ranks second last in the public financing of dental care. Staggering facts to me as a dental public health advocate. Alberta Health Services sees some rural students in select schools based on various factors to qualify for their sealant and fluoride varnish program. Generally no education component is offered due to lack of funding.
My first year 2014/15 I talked to over 1800 students.
2015/16 –2300 students
2016/17 – 3100 students
2017/18 – 2650 students
2018-19- 2800 students
To date: 12,650 students have received dental health education from Tooth Talks Inc. and its sponsors!
Tennille Needham, Registered Dental Hygienist from Alberta since 2005.
Member of the CRDHA- College of Registered Dental Hygienists of Alberta
Member of the CDHA- Canadian Dental Hygienists Association
Practiced in BC from 2003 to 2004 Registered with The College of Registered Dental Hygienists of BC.
Graduated from the College of New Caledonia, Prince George, BC in 2003.