Kids dental in focus for World Oral Health Day
20 Mar 2019
Regular dental check-ups are important from an early age – and they’re available for free for people under 18 years of age.
Across NSW all children registered on a Medicare card have access to free general dental care, including through the Nepean Centre for Oral Health which operates clinics in Penrith, Windsor, Katoomba and Lithgow.
Children may also be eligible for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule, which provides up to $1,000 in dental services over two years.
To help celebrate World Oral Health Day on 20 March, staff and patients from the Nepean Centre for Oral Health are spreading the message of good oral health practices, including regular check-ups for kids.
Nine year old Mia, pictured attending the Penrith clinic for a check-up, says she is only a “tiny bit nervous” about seeing the dentist. Her mum Sarah, whose four children attend the clinic regularly, says it’s been a “fantastic experience”.
“I think there’s a lot of people who don’t realise that all general dental care for under 18s is available at the clinic,” says Sarah. “They do make them feel really comfortable and explain everything”.
Catherine Smith (pictured left) is a Dental Therapist who is specifically trained to treat children for all their general dental care needs. She says, “It’s very important to have regular check-ups and to identify any potential problems early, because they’re a lot easier to fix”.
“In most cases we can prevent dental diseases from happening, so my recommendation would be as soon as you’ve got a child, bring them in,” says Catherine.
“Even from a couple of months of age we can have a look and make sure everything is the way it should be in the mouth and also give you guidance and education on how to prevent tooth decay.”
“A lot of parents bring their children in when they’re experiencing pain or when there are visible problems in the mouth. Often by that time the treatment is a lot more involved and it can be traumatic for the children,” says Catherine, “So if we can identify problems early and prevent them from happening it’s going to be a lot easier to treat and the child will have a very good experience”.
Top tips to prevent decay
Brush twice a day. Once in the morning after breakfast, and once again just before bed.
From infancy, have regular dental check-ups every six to twelve months.
Spit out the toothpaste but don’t rinse out your mouth with water. This gives the fluoride a chance to re-mineralise weakened areas of the tooth structure.
Like all medications, fluoride should be used in the correct proportions. From 18 months of age introduce a low fluoride toothpaste, smearing just a small amount on the toothbrush. Once permanent teeth are beginning to grow through, use a pea sized amount of an adult strength toothpaste.
For more information or to make a dental appointment, call the Nepean Centre for Oral Health on 4734 2387 or 1300 769 221.