A child having a cavity or two in their baby teeth can seem insignificant.  Those teeth will fall out after all.  Thedental health education nanaimo habit however, of taking care of our teeth is often learned or not learned in childhood.  With poor dental health habits, cavities in baby teeth, later in life become cavities in permanent teeth and then possibly lost teeth, root canals or a host of other dental problems.  

To bring the importance of developing proper habits to children, Dr. Mahara, a Nanaimo dentist is taking dental health education to the schools.  “The best dental treatment,” he says, “is prevention” – learning about brushing and flossing and eating right.  

“Kids learn best when they are interested, engaged and having fun,” says Dr. Mahara of Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group.  This is what the “catch a smile” program is all about.

Realizing the importance of kids learning about dental health in a relaxed and positive environment, Dr. Mahara decided to take the learning to the kids in school.  The “Catch A Smile Dental Program” was originally designed and piloted by the Rotary Club of Kihei Sunrise–Maui, Hawaii in 2012. Donna Allen, a long-serving Rotary member, liked the idea and partnered with Dr. Mahara to bring it to Nanaimo.

The concept was adopted and funded by the Rotary Club of Nanaimo – Daybreak for implementation in kindergarten classes in eight schools in the Nanaimo – Ladysmith School District 68 in 2015 and is going strong into 2019.

“We play games, sing a song and have a laugh with Mr. Chewy, a big blue stuffy dragon with big teeth. Mr. Chewy happily squirts water which makes kids laugh and giggle.”

To add to the show, a fellow Rotarian and a couple of Vancouver Island University dental assisting students, who dress up like tooth fairies, come along to help out Dr. Mahara. 

The kids also get to play a food game with Mr. Chewy. All kids are randomly given pictures of different foods. They are asked to identify foods that are healthy or unhealthy for our bodies and teeth. Then they learn to sing a brushing song while practicing good brushing techniques.

Currently, schools are contacted individually. We’d like to reach to as many schools as we can.  School principals can feel free to reach out to us to arrange this program for their schools.

Dr. Mahara also hopes that parents can get involved at home and participate with the kids. And, if teachers continue the singing and pretend brushing in the class routine, it will create a habit.

Are you a dentist or an educator? We would be happy to tell you more about bringing this program to your community.  Contact Us.



Dr. Mahara and his team at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group and the Rotary Daybreak Club of Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group team mount Benson hike for Nepal 2015Nanaimo recently combined efforts to raise more funds and awareness for the earthquake victims of Nepal. On Saturday, September 26th, blessed by warm weather and sunshine, Dr. Mahara rallied a group of 21 hikers up to the summit of Mount Benson.

Although the weather was good, the hike was still a challenge for many of the participants and Dr. Mahara and the event organizers were tremendously proud of all of the hikers! With steep sections and some loose ground in spots, the 2 hour hike up to the summit of Mount Benson felt like climbing 4000 stairs! The additional 2 hour hike downward proposed its own challenges – although less of a cardiovascular workout, tricky footing and impact to the knees and joints was felt by most. There were a fair share of minor slips but everyone arrived at the bottom of the hill exhilarated and safe.

Financially, the hike was a huge success, with over $2,000 dollars raised through pledges that the hikers received from supporters from around Vancouver Island. This will be added to the $4,000 plus dollars raised through Nepal t-shirt sales and then matched by funding at both National and International levels of Rotary.

The Rotary Daybreak Club, of which Dr. Mahara is a member, plans to use the funds raised from the hike and from t-shirt sales as seed money to leverage “Rotary International” matching grant scheme to create the maximum value that can be used to support a project to rebuild the basic services in a village in Nepal. Basic services include access to safe housing and drinking water and education.

Traveling to Nepal on a Rotary Club mission to fund some schools in the country of his origin, Dr. Mahara found himself in the middle of the major earthquakes and after-shocks which occurred in April / May 2015.

Arriving back in Nanaimo a few weeks later, Dr. Mahara wanted to help the people of Nepal.  Through his Downtown Dental Group office he held a candle light vigil, designed and sold Nepal t-shirts and now has completed the Hike for Nepal.

To support the ongoing rebuilding needs of Nepal, Dr. Mahara is planning the Hike for Nepal as an annual event held in September of each year. Visit the Hike for Nepal Facebook page to keep up to date with the planning and to participate in the 2016 event! Also, a limited number of Nepal T-shirts are still available for just $20. To purchase, email info@drmahara.com.

Thanks to everyone who supported the Hike for Nepal in one way or another. We couldn’t have done it without you!