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Get mouthy aimed at adolescent oral health

Teen's reminded that certain behaviours, like consuming energy drinks and tongue piercings, can damage their teeth.
Ashlee Hart Phillycia Fenton Get Mouthy
Grade 9 Westgate Collegiate and Vocational Institute students Ashlee Hart, 14 (left), and Phillycia Fenton, take part in the Thunder Bay District Health Unit's Get Mouthy campaign on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019 at the school. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY – The Thunder Bay District Health Unit is taking the importance of oral health on the road.

To be more specific, they’re setting up shop at local high schools, educating teens about the dangers common activities, like smoking, consuming energy drinks and tongue piercings can have on their teeth and mouths.

Adena Miller, a health promotion planner at the health unit, said the Get Mouthy campaign isn’t about telling students not to do certain event, but just to be aware that there are consequences related to oral health.

“They have unique needs and different behaviours, as compared to younger children, so we wanted to focus on educating adolescents on those different behaviours, how they impact their oral health and what they can do to minimize the impacts of those behaviours,” Miller said on Thursday, the campaign making a stop at Westgate Collegiate and Vocational Institute.

Many students are aware, for example, of the sugar content of energy drinks, or that metal tongue piercings can chip teeth or lead to infections if not done properly.

Miller and her team were also stressing the importance of wearing mouth guards while playing sports to decrease trauma-related injuries. General brushing and flossing habits were also reinforced, as well as the risk of oral cancer from HPV.

“Something like energy drinks, our message is try to cut back. If you do have one, brush after. If you can’t brush, rinse your mouth after to decrease the amount of time that sugar is on your teeth,” Miller said.

Starting good oral health practices as a teen usually leads to maintaining those good habits later in life.

“Maybe they already have good brushing and flossing habits, but it’s other behaviours they may partake in that we really want to focus on in this campaign.”

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Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith has been the editor of Thunder Bay Source for 18 years and has served a similar role with since 2009. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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