Simple solution to help improve refugees' oral health

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Office of the Chief Dental Officer (OCDO), in partnership with the Refugee Health Network Queensland and Refugee Oral Health Working Group (ROHWG), have translated their ‘How to brush your teeth’ stickers to multiple languages. These instructions encourage better tooth brushing among refugee and asylum seeker communities, and will be given to all newly arrived families in Queensland.

People from a refugee background often arrive in Australia with poor oral health because of limited access to dental care back home, significant periods of food and financial insecurity, and nutritional deficiencies due to limited access to fresh fruit and vegetables. Consultation with refugee community leaders found better dental care was a personal health priority for these people, but limited information available in their language made it hard to achieve. OCDO then consulted with refugee settlement and health services to:

  • identify priority languages
  • develop the sticker resources using universally accepted diagrams so a whole family can understand regardless of literacy levels.

These languages include Arabic, Burmese, Dari, Farsi, Karen, Nepali, Tigrinya, Tamil and Vietnamese.

The ‘How to brush your teeth’ stickers form part of a suite of translated resources to promote better health outcomes. OCDO has also provided funding to develop a series of oral health videos for Sango speakers. Sango speakers were identified as a fast growing community in North Queensland that faced the challenge of only one Sango interpreter in Australia.

Clear, simple educational information that is culturally sensitive—and in languages for vulnerable populations—continues to help OCDO achieve cost effective, patient-centred solutions for better oral health outcomes.

Order stickers

‘How to brush your teeth’ stickers can be ordered by emailing or through the Refugee Health Network Queensland.

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Last updated: 28 January 2020