Health and Medicine

School checklist: uniforms, dental check-up, mouthguard

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As the 2019 school year approaches and school checklists are being completed, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) recommends including a visit to the dentist! It may be one of the most important actions you do, with dental pain one of the most common reasons for school absenteeism and consequent work leave for parents.

The ADA recommends booking your children in for a dental check-up to ensure a healthy smile before heading back to school. There is no better way to begin the school year than with a healthy mouth and happy smile. Your child may even be eligible for the Medicare Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) where $1000 of specified services are available for 2-18-year-old children over a two-year period. Contact Medicare to check whether your child is eligible.

Professor David Manton, Chair of ADA’s Oral Health Committee advises that Australian child oral health is not where 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 5-6 years have experienced primary tooth decay.”

Further statistics show that of children aged 6-14 years, 23.5 per cent have experienced tooth decay in their adult teeth with 10.9 per cent of this age group having untreated dental decay.

In response to these alarming statistics, the ADA in conjunction with the Australian Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC) established an expert committee to set targets to reverse the increasing trends of oral disease in the community. The Australian Oral Health Tracker is a set of report cards on preventable oral diseases and their risk factors for adults and children and young people in Australia. To view the Oral Health Tracker, go to the ADA website.

With school returning, so too does the sporting season. The ADA recommends dentist supplied custom fabricated mouthguards for sports involving collisions or contact. At your dental check-up enquire about receiving a custom-made mouthguard. These mouthguards provide greater protection against traumatic dental injuries compared to pharmacy or store-bought mouthguards, often referred to as ‘boil and bite’ mouthguards. Mouthguards should be worn during both training and games to decrease the chance of dental trauma and injury.

“We all know how busy the year becomes, so do not delay, book your dental appointment today,” concluded Dr Manton.

Source: Australian Dental Association

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