Children’s Oral Health Initiative (COHI)



An early childhood tooth decay prevention program designed to improve the oral health of First Nations children aged 0-7, their parents and/or caregivers and pregnant women. The services in this program are delivered on-reserve by dental therapists or dental hygienists, with the assistance of a COHI Aide who is a community member. As of 2014, COHI services are provided to 79 First Nations on-reserve communities in BC.  As of July 2013, the FNHA assumed administrative responsibility for the Health Canada NIHB Program and COHI for First Nations residing in British Columbia


Region of Administration:



Government / Department:

First Nations Health Authority (FNHA)



First Nations children aged 0 - 7 years, their parents/caregivers and pregnant women; all must reside on-reserve.



Annual screenings, fluoride varnish, dental sealants, temporary fillings; and oral health education and information kits for parents with infants and children, with messaging about proper oral hygiene and low sugar diet, screening and risk assessment starting in infancy.



Dental therapists, dental hygienists, COHI Aide.


Therapeutic Responsibility:

Dental therapists, dental hygienist.



Fee- for-service


How it Works:

The COHI Aide is a community member, selected and hired by the community to support the dental professional.  They are an essential link between the dental professional and the community. Services that the COHI Aide can provide are obtaining authorization from families to enrol children in COHI, applying fluoride varnish, one-on-one oral health education sessions with children and adults, and assisting the dental professional in completing their COHI duties. The COHI Aide is funded via contribution agreement and training is provided by the FNHA. Dental professionals provide guidance and support to the COHI Aides and are the oral health "lead" for COHI in the communities.


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