Thousands more Victorian school students will enjoy brighter, healthier smiles when the Smile Squad free dental program is rolled out to more schools in term one next year.
Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos today announced the local government areas where schools will receive visits from the vans from term one.
The new locations are Towong, Latrobe, Brimbank, Hepburn, Buloke, Mansfield and Greater Bendigo.
They will join schools in Box Hill, Cranbourne, Barwon South and Wodonga who have already been visited as part of the free dental program.
In 2020, the fleet is expected to visit more than 150 schools and provide treatment to more than 50,000 students. More schools and locations will be announced in 2020.
Oral disease is one of the most common and expensive diseases to treat, but it’s also the most preventable. Across Australia, a quarter of all children have untreated tooth decay; and in Victoria, dental conditions are the highest single cause of preventable hospitalisations for kids under 10.
The Smile Squad vans will provide free check-ups and treatment including teeth cleaning, fluoride application, fillings, root canals and any other non-cosmetic treatments to make sure our kids have healthy teeth.
All Victorian public primary and secondary school students will receive their own free dental packs, complete with a toothbrush, and lots of education about the benefits of a healthy, bright smile.
The Andrews Labor Government’s landmark free dental care program will drive down big dental costs for families, with bills expected to be slashed by $400 each year for each kid. It’s also estimated to free up 100,000 places for adults in the public dental system each year, reducing wait times.
Once fully rolled out in 2022, the program will provide check-ups and dental treatment for about 650,000 public school kids every year.
As stated by Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos
“The Smile Squad program has already made a big difference helping kids and teenagers improve their oral health and parents save money on hefty dental bills. Now we’re rolling it out further.”
“Kids’ and teenagers’ oral health is so important, but busy families can often struggle to find the time to get to the dentist. We’re fixing that.”
“Our landmark free dental program has been a great success and now we’re rolling it out further.”
As noted by Minister for Education James Merlino
“Tooth decay is preventable with the right treatment and check-ups. That’s why we’re making sure every Victorian student in primary and secondary public schools will get the care they need, no matter where they live.”