Dental journalism recognised by Australian Dental Association
SYDNEY, Australia: Journalism plays a key role as a catalyst for change within society and journalists have been pivotal in bringing stories about some of the most important issues in oral health in Australia to the attention of the public. For this year’s Australian Dental Association (ADA) media awards event, the alarming prevalence of infant tooth extractions and the causes of childhood dental caries were the subjects of the two winning entries.
Speaking about the media awards that have now been running for seven years, ADA President Dr Carmelo Bonanno said, “With these awards we aim to encourage journalists and producers to reach out to a wide audience in ways that promote optimum oral health goals for the readers, viewers and listeners, as well as draw attention to the issues facing the dental profession around the nation.”
At this year’s awards, Fiona Pepper won the electronic category with an 11-minute segment on childhood tooth extractions for Radio National’s Life Matters programme. Speaking to the ADA, Pepper said there had been a huge focus by both government and community health organisations on high-sugar diets and the increasing prevalence of diabetes and obesity. “I interviewed a range of dentists who were conducting major dental surgery on children and were struck by how troubled they were about what sugar was doing to the teeth of Australian children. This dental surgery could easily be avoided if the child’s diet was improved.”
The print category was won by Jane Barry, who is a registered nurse, midwife, child health nurse and health writer. Barry wrote two separate articles, one on the link between a pregnant mother’s oral health and her baby’s health, and the second on childhood dental caries and preventative measures.
“What fuelled me to write on the topic of how parents can get their kids into the best oral health and brushing habits was that there’s a certain resignation from many parents that decay is something that just happens. They normalise it and don’t view themselves as the primary force in prevention,” Barry told the ADA.
In recognition of their work, both Barry and Pepper received A$5,000. Entries for the awards came from TV, radio, websites, metro and regional newspapers, and magazines around Australia.