Denise Kokaram is aregistered dental hygienist who istaking it to the streets. The headof the Alex Dental Health Bus inCalgary, she works with otherdental hygienists, dentists, teachers,schools and project supporters totake oral health care to thecommunity.
The Alex bus visits more than 30
schools from September to June eachyear offering youth from six to 24
years old services such as fluoridevarnish and sealants to preventcavities.
To help those with serious toothdecay, Kokaram asks dental practicesacross the city if they will host aSmiles Dental Clinic. Staff withthe Alex Centre and participatingpractices then give free dentalservices to youth in need of care onSunday mornings or Wednesdayevenings.
“The exciting thing Denisehas brought to the program isher connection with the dentalcommunity,” says Chris Wood, thedirector of Health Services for theAlex Centre. “It has allowed us to goto the next step. What do you do withthe kids who have restorative needsand you have no place to put them?
Denise has been able to engage her
colleagues. She’s a well-respected
Kokaram and Wood see every day
how poor oral health affects overall
health. It can be hard for children
Delivering a vision for oral health
Denise Kokaram is the driving force behind the Alex Dental Health Bus
to learn when they have a cavityor infection and they can end upmissing school and other activities.
Cavities and gum disease are alsolinked to many serious conditions,including diabetes and respiratorydiseases.
“My big vision is accessible oral
health care for everybody,”
Kokoram says. She wants to make
timely quality oral health care
available to everyone so “people don’t
have to live with that kind of pain
— Jeff Collins