The Australian Dental Association is urging parents to add a trip to the dentist for their children in the first few weeks of school.
Statistics collected by the ADA have shown that 23.5 per cent of children aged six to 14 have tooth decay in their adult teeth but nearly 11 per cent of them haven’t had it treated.
Dental pain is a common reason for children missing school which in turn means that parents miss a day of work.
ADA’s Oral Health Committee chair Professor David Manton said oral health in Australian children was not as good as it should be.
‘‘Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in both Australian adults and children. No young child should have to experience tooth decay, especially before being old enough to start school, yet statistics show that 34.3 per cent of Australian children aged five to six years have experienced primary tooth decay,’’ Prof Manton said.
The ADA recommends that all parents find out what benefits their children could be entitled to from Medicare.
Children may be eligible for the Medicare Child Dental Benefits Schedule which entitles a child aged between two and 18 years to $1000 of specified services over a two-year period.
With the return to school, there’s also a return to sport — so some parents will need to think about getting their child a mouthguard.
The ADA recommends that children who play sports that require a mouthguard are fitted with a custom-made one.
They may cost more but custom-made mouthguards provide better protection than ones bought at the chemist or a sports store which are known as ‘boil and bite’ mouthguards.
The ADA also recommends wearing a mouthguard during training, not just during a game, to decrease the likelihood of dental damage.