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Stop the rot

Eighty per cent of Queensland’s kids aren’t visiting a dentist by the recommended two years of age.

Chief Dental Officer Dr Mark Brown said Dental Health Week (3-8 August) was an ideal time to highlight the startling figure.

"A staggering 32 per cent of children aged 5–6 years have never had a dental visit," Dr Brown said.

"Now is a good time to remind parents to get their child to a dental check-up by the recommended age to detect any problems before they become major issues."

Dr Brown referred to the Queensland Child Oral Health Survey 2010-12, a report released last year that included figures on childhood tooth decay levels.

"Given that half of Queensland children aged 5–10 surveyed had decay in their primary teeth, it’s clear that we need to get our kids’ teeth examined as soon as it’s recommended," he said.

"Parents can give their children a great start by organising a dental check-up for them before their second birthday.

"A check-up can pick up problems early and provides a great opportunity to discuss healthy eating and tooth brushing."

Dr Brown reminded parents of the extensive free public dental service in Queensland.

"Most Queensland children are eligible for free dental services available through an extensive network of dental clinics and vans,” he said.

“School dental service staff are trained to treat children and are experienced in making a trip to the dental clinic a positive part of a regular routine.

"In most communities across Queensland, accessing dental care for children is as simple as attending the dental clinic or van at your child’s school, or travelling a short distance to a local clinic.”

Dr Brown encouraged Queensland parents to attend dental visits with their children and lead by example to prevent tooth decay.

"Children need help with brushing until they are about eight years old.

"Tooth decay is preventable and the steps to avoid it are simple – a healthy diet, brushing twice a day, and regular dental check-ups."

Last updated: 3 August 2015