Children's Oral Health Initiative

What is the Children's Oral Health Initiative?


The Children's Oral Health Initiative (COHI) is an early childhood tooth decay prevention program for children aged 0-7, their parents and caregivers and pregnant women. COHI services include annual screening, fluoride varnish applications, sealants and temporary fillings. 

A dental therapist or dental hygienist and a COHI aide deliver the program in communities. The COHI aide is a community member - hired by the community to support the dental professional and provide some COHI services independently. The aides are an essential link between the dental professional and the community.

The services provided by COHI aides include: obtaining authorization from families to enroll children in COHI; applying fluoride varnish; giving one-on-one oral health education to children and adults; and doing community health promotion.

Aides are funded through the community's funding arrangement and training is provided by FNHA. As the oral health leads for COHI, dental professionals provide guidance and support to the COHI aides.

Why is this important?

COHI heightens the importance of oral health in communities by having a dental professional who is regularly visible; and by funding a community member as an oral health advocate and service provider. But it is the community that plays the most important role. Without active participation by community leaders and members, the program will not work - it must belong to and be supported by the community.

COHI supports and encourages families to make oral health and oral care a regular part of family life, and to make healthy choices in caring for their young children. Families receive excellent resources - including DVDs, visual aids, flip charts, parent kits, and of course toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss. 

Read our Children's Oral Health Initiative documents for tips on maintaining healthy teeth




Find all the COHI documents in the right sidebar of this page.

Making COHI Yours

Service Delivery
COHI services are provided in 76 on-reserve communities in BC.

Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
COHI prevention and promotion activities include presentations to groups such as Aboriginal Head Start, Healthy Babies, daycares, preschools and nurseries. COHI also offers information at community events such as health and career fairs and Elder lunches.


For information about COHI, contact:​

Phone: ‎604.693.6500

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