Changing lives: one smile at a time!

Mrs Cathryn Carboon1

1Dental Hygienists Association of Australia, Wangaratta North, Australia


Who is the tooth fairy’s best friend and what is fluoride magic? Both of these questions can be answered when you combine oral health literacy with a social responsibility project which has been nominated to represent Australia at the International Federation of Dental Hygienists global Social Responsibility Program.  Poor oral health literacy is linked to a decrease in fluoride demand and usage across the world. The Carevan Foundation Sun Smiles program in partnership with the Dental Hygienists Association of Australia has  published a children’s picture book which provides an oral health literacy resource which is changing the lives of many disadvantaged Australian primary school children – one smile at a time! Low levels of health literacy is a significant problem in Australia. All allied health professionals should look at this model of delivering health information to see whether they could also have a positive impact on the health literacy of the nation.


Cathryn Carboon is a dental hygienist with over 30 years’ experience and a Master of Health Promotion.  She was the oral health network co-ordinator on the SARRAH Advisory Committee for over a decade. Cathryn has been a member of the Dental Hygienists Association of Australia for 30 years, currently serving as the chair of the  Rural and Remote Health Special Interest Group.  Cathryn is a Carevan Foundation Board Member and manages the Carevan “Sun Smiles” school fluoride varnish program.  She works in private practice in rural Victoria and is a Colgate Professional Educator to undergraduate dentistry and oral health therapy programs at 5 Universities.  She is also a published children’s picture book author.

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