Get those little bunnies hopping to the dentistPRINT PAGE
A staggering half of 6 year old children presenting to public dental clinics have experienced tooth decay according to data from Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV).
The most distressing statistic is around 4,500 Victorian children aged 0-14 years are hospitalized due to dental conditions.
In the lead up to Easter which is strongly aligned in many cases with over indulging in chocolate and sugary sweets, DHSV is encouraging families to think twice about much how sugar they are consuming.
DHSV dentist, based at the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne, Dr Sophie Beaumont said 50 per cent of all children have experienced some tooth decay by the age of 12 and the highest rates of disease occur in disadvantaged populations.
Dental disease accounts for more than 63,000 hospital presentations every year in Australia (behind kidney infection and gastroenteritis), the third highest cause for preventable hospital admissions,” said Dr Beaumont.
“Every year in Victoria more than 1300 children undergo a general an aesthetic at the Dental Hospital for dental treatment.
Most of these hospitalisations are for children having general anesthetics for management of dental decay which is totally preventable.
Around half that number are very young preschool aged children. Last financial year, the dental hospital had 53 preschool aged children where at least half of the baby teeth were extracted (there were some children where all teeth were extracted).
“Good oral hygiene, including effective tooth-brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, is only a part of the solution. Understanding healthy dietary factors is the most important part of the puzzle.
Dr Beaumont labelled tooth decay “the silent epidemic in children”.
“Many foods and drinks are very high in added sugars, often these are “hidden sugars” in foods and drinks that are marketed as “healthy” or important to achieve good outcomes such as with sports drinks.
“Everyone knows those little Easter eggs are loaded with sugar, but it’s the not so obvious items that can be easily missed. The Easter period is a good reminder to get to the dentist and avoid long term pain.”
For more media enquiries please contact Dental Health Services Victoria Media and Community Relations Manager Suzana Talevski on 0407 961 413
To find out more about Victoria’s public dental health services please visit www.dhsv.org.au
Note: Any child up to the age of 12 or those above 12 whose parents hold a concession card can access dental care at their local community dental clinic or at the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne without needing to wait on the waiting list.