30 percent of parents unaware of free dental services

Most kids have access to free dental care up until they leave school, yet Queensland Health data shows a third of parents don’t know it.

Queensland’s Chief Dental Officer Dr Mark Brown said all children aged four up to Year 10, and any child with a Centrelink concession card, can access free public dental care.

“We know concerns about the cost of dental care can be a barrier to parents seeking dental treatment and check-ups for their kids, but it is extremely important,” he said.

“Our data shows 55 percent of kids aged five to 14 who attended the public oral health service had tooth decay, and 24 percent had decay in four or more teeth.

“We’ve got dental vans, school clinics and community clinics across Queensland that kids can access for their oral health needs.

“These services are free, convenient, and in an environment that children are comfortable in.

“To check timing for your child’s school’s visit, or to find out how to make an appointment, contact the Oral Health Service through your local Hospital and Health Service.”

Dr Brown said other options for accessing dental care are available to parents.

“Children aged two to 17 may also be eligible under the Child Dental Benefits Schedule,” he said.

“Data shows only half of parents are aware of the scheme, which provides up to $1000 to be used towards general and preventive dental care at either a public or private dentist.

Dr Brown said with tooth decay being the most common chronic disease in childhood, parents are encouraged to follow simple steps to keep their child’s smile bright and healthy.

“The most important tip for parents is ensure children brush their teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, and parents should assist kids with brushing until they’re eight to ensure a thorough clean,” he said.

“Kids should be booked in for their first oral health check before they are two years old, then regularly after that.

“Eating healthy foods and drinks, without added sugar, is important for a healthy smile and general health.”

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