THOMSON, HARRY S.: Field Secretary, Canadian Dental Hygiene Council, Toronto, Canada (June 22, 1939).

 

The Canadian Dental Hygiene Council carries the message of better health and better mouth-health to school children through regular educational chan‑

nels, and inspires pupil and teacher with the thought that general health par­ticularly, and dental health as a specialty, are matters of education, changed habits of life, and frequent examinations by the dentist—that it is a matter of prevention rather than cure. The programs of the Council have awakened in the general public a consciousness of the value of mouth health in relation to general health. The programs are of value to the dental profession and to the individual dentist by creating a public opinion to support his efforts in preventive dentistry. The Council is conducting dental-health educational work, not as a professional (dental) organization but as a public-health body specializing in this one branch. The Council’s work is financed by grants from the Federal Government at Ottawa, Canadian Life Insurance Officers Association, and other philanthropic and charitable sources. By working through Government departments, the Council leads the way to the permanent establishment of a division of dental health in connection with provincial health departments. It presents to them a definite program of mouth health and assists them, financially and through organization, to promote it, always committing the Province to an expenditure at least equal to the Council’s ap­propriation. The Council carries on its dental-health programs through or­ganized groups, such as public-health and welfare bodies, thereby reaching the public under the best auspices. The entire program of the Council, a lay organization, is based upon the premises that the most effective present means of controlling caries is the education of the public on the necessity and de­sirability of early and systematic dental treatment by careful, capable dentists, along with acquiring knowledge of and using properly balanced diets, par­ticularly during the years of development and growth of the teeth.

The results of research in the dental public-health field are of value only when correlated with clinical symptoms and findings, and these are obviously valueless until the public are made aware of their worth through education. This is the premise on which the Canadian Dental Hygiene Council was established. The Council exists for the sole purpose of conveying to the public, through education, the accepted scientific findings and -the newer clinical knowledge of preventive dentistry by means of personal addresses, attractive literature, posters and charts, newspaper articles and radio broadcasts. The Council is endorsed by the Canadian Dental Association and all the provincial dental societies. Largely through the efforts of the Council, school dental clinics have been established in most of the cities and towns throughout the Dominion. With the assistance of the Depart­ments of Education the newer knowledge of preventive dentistry, and the im­portance of mouth health in relation to general health, have been incorporated in the text books and teachers’ manuals in eight of the nine provinces. The Depart­ments of Education have also cooperated by taking the responsibility for dis­tribution of specially prepared literature for school children. Owing to the ex‑

 

SUMMARIES ON CARIES                                    153

tensive area of the Dominion of Canada and its comparatively small population, there are many sparsely settled and remote regions in which dental services are not available. The Council has assisted the various provinces, financially and through organization, to carry travelling dental clinics to the school children throughout these remote districts. Many thousands of children have received dental treatment under these auspices who otherwise would never have had its benefits.

References: Annual Reports, Canadian Dental Hygiene Council, 1925-39 (Toronto, Canada).

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