Pregnancy, Babies and Children’s Expo

At the Perth Exhibition and Convention Centre

Oral Health

Participating at the Pregnancy, Babies and Children’s Expo held over two days on behalf of and supported by the Australian Dental Association (WA), was an excellent opportunity to promote and share the message of prevention and healthy teeth for life; that the deciduous dentition is equally as important as the permanent dentition. The event coincided with World Oral Health Day, which promoted the apt theme of: “A Happy Mouth is …A Happy Body".

Volunteering at the expo were UWA dental students, dental assistants, dental practitioners, dental therapists and paediatric postgraduates.  

We provided information/advice along with an abundance of printed material.  ‘Screenings’ were conducted on children who then also received a toothbrush/toothpaste. Our very colourful and interactive stand, balloons and ‘tooth fairies’ were a hit with the children. A balloon ‘stand-off’ between one child and Mo Halane, (one of our paediatric postgrads), brought a smile to everyone’s face!

The youngest child we saw was only a few weeks old. There was a genuine interest and concern from parents with so many questions, wanting to do the best for their child. Questions such as: Brushing - when do we start? What technique? What about fluroride? When do we see the dentist? “My child is 12 months and still doesn’t have teeth, do I have to worry?"; "My child was born with two teeth, is that a problem?”; “My child won’t let me near them with a toothbrush—what do I do?” There were many questions and confusion over tongue and worry about the effects of thumb sucking and dummies. The ramifications of diet was a focal point of discussions with parents.

We have been attending the expo for a number of years and find these are recurring questions. This highlights the fact that information on children’s oral health and its significance is not reaching the majority of the community.

We as a profession need to be proactive. This is why we maintain a presence at this expo. This begs the question - what more can we as a profession do and how can we be more proactive? Raising an awareness to the profession for further discussion and action.

Our other outcomes included having satisfied mums, dads, grandparents with comments such as: “I never knew that; I was never told, thank you so much"; very good information; 'I have never taken my child to the dentist before; really appreciated' and having parents taking photos of the information on the walls of our stand.

We were noticed and approached by midwives from the Family Birth Unit at King Edward Memorial Hospital who deal with women during pregnancy and post-partum.  They are concerned that information on oral health is lacking and are very keen to form a liaison to help with dissemination of information, resources and education within their organisation on oral health.

A representative from the Australian Breastfeeding Association also requested details to access to the information we had on display with a request for talks to be given to their groups.

The students commented on how much they learned from watching and listening to the advice being given by the dentists and how helpful interacting with the public was for their communication skills. The students said they truly enjoyed themselves - overstaying their allotted rostered time (by 2 hours for some!) was a good indication of that. It was invaluable having the students there - they are the future voice of our profession.

There was overwhelmingly positive feedback from the volunteers. What a great weekend!  THANK YOU!

I would also like to express my appreciation to Ileana Kalamaras and Deshna Bajracharya for their patience and assistance with set up; Lisa Bowdin for her help with notifying the dental students; and  to Rose Turner at Dental Health Services who kindly assisted with the supply of the displays and pamphlets.

My sincere gratitude to all who took part.
Dr Lena Lejmanoski


Ileana Kalamaras

Deshna Bajracharya

Tracy Wong

Chinh Tran

Ashlee Bence

Kiranbir Kaur

David Qui

Zarni Shakibaie

Lyndon Abbott

Catherine Munday

Leena Goh

Ylan Pham

Jainish Patel

Jeha Patel

Mo Halane

Charlotte Pickering

Brigitte O’Brien

Tammie Parr

Bigya Dhital

Wen Phua

Darshwin Indrawathan

James Huang

Ethan Ng

Emma Caseley

Monisha Arora

Stella Mullane

Sanika Dingre

Julie-Anne Martis

Suba Sree Velusuwamy

Xi Chin

Sneha Thomas

Priyank Chotalia

Harrison Tran

Lena Lejmanoski

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