June 18, 2024

Vita Nectar

Health is the main investment in life

Children’s Oral Health Initiative

3 min read

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​About COHI 

The Children’s Oral Health Initiative (COHI) is an early childhood tooth decay prevention program aimed at children aged 0 to 7, their caregivers and pregnant women living on-reserve or accessing on-reserve resources.

The goal of the initiative is to improve oral health and well-being. COHI aims promote a lifetime of oral health by preventing tooth decay, treating and restoring teeth that already have tooth decay, improving oral health knowledge, changing oral health–related behaviours and reducing the number of First Nations children that require general anesthesia for dental surgeries. 

Read BC’s First Nations and Aboriginal Oral Health Strategy: Healthy Smiles for Life

COHI in Communities

COHI is delivered in communities by a COHI provider (a dental professional) and a COHI aide. The COHI aide is a community member who acts as an essential link between the oral health professional and the community. They act as oral knowledge-keepers in the community and work collaboratively with the COHI provider to implement COHI services when the COHI provider is in a community.

COHI services provided in communities include an annual dental screening by a COHI provider, fluoride varnish applications, sealants and temporary fillings and one-on-one or group oral-health education sessions. 

COHI services are provided in 80 on-reserve communities in BC. COHI prevention and promotion activities include presentations to groups such as Aboriginal Head Start On Reserve and Healthy Babies, and to day cares and preschools. COHI also participates in community events such as health fairs, career fairs and Elder lunches. 

To find out if COHI is in your community, please contact your local health centre or community health representative. 


General Oral Health

Oral Health 101 (guide)
Seal in that Smile! (mini-poster)

Oral Care

Tooth Brushing Tips for Parents (fact sheet)
Brushing Morning & Night​ (children’s activity)​
How to Use Disclosing Tablets (mini-poster)
Does Your Child Need Fluoride Varnish?​ (fact sheet)
Silver Diamine Fluoride for Cavity Prevention​ (fact sheet)​

Babies & Infants

Healthy Teeth & Infant Feeding (fact sheet)
Bottle Feeding (tracking chart)
Protect Your Baby’s Teeth (fact sheet)
3 Ways to Protect Your Baby’s Smile (fact sheet)
Lift the Lip (fact sheet)
Tips For Teething (fact sheet)
Teeth at Two (fact sheet) 

Healthy Eating & Nutrition 

A Guide to Your Baby’s First Foods​ (guide)
Food is Medicine Recipe Book​ (guide)
Nutrition and Oral Health (guide)
Building Supportive Environments For Oral Health & Healthy Eating (guide)
Raising Good Eaters (fact sheet)
Eating Routine for Young Children (children’s activity)
Recipes for Elders and Children to Make Together (children’s activity)
Creating Healthy Lunches (fact sheet)
My Favorite Snacks (children’s activity)
Best Choices for Drinks at Home (fact sheet)
Providing Healthy Drinks (fact sheet)
Chew Your Juice! (fact sheet)​​


Pregnancy & Oral Health (fact sheet)


Oral Care for Elders (fact sheet)​

The Importance of COHI

COHI supports and encourages families to make oral health and oral care a regular part of family life. 

COHI providers and COHI aides help communities understand the important role they play in keeping children’s teeth healthy through knowledge-sharing and education. The success of COHI is dependent on the active participation of community leaders and members in building community capacity for healthy smiles.​

Dental Health Resources

Brush Up On Baby’s Teeth: 12-Month Visit​ (Interior Health info sheet)

Fluoride Varnish Program (Northern Health brochure)

The First Visit​ (First Nations Health Council video)​
Healthy Snack Guide (Interior Health info sheet)
Lift the Lip​ (Vancouver Coastal Health brochure)

Pregnancy and Oral Health (Health Canada info sheet)
Preventing Early Childhood Tooth Decay: Does Your Child Need Fluoride Varnish? (Health Canada info sheet)

Re-Think What You Drink (Interior Health info sheet)
Snackmaster (Interior Health info sheet)
What Can I Do When My Child Won’t Cooperate with Toothbrushing? (Interior Health info sheet)
You Decide What to Provide (Health Canada info sheet)


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