CHILDREN across Ballarat and the Grampians have the state’s most alarming rate of rotting smiles.
Three in five Grampians children are presenting to public dental clinics with tooth decay, clear above the state average of 50 per cent, according to the latest figures from Dental Health Services Victoria.
New data shows 5,900 Victorian children, aged under-14, were hospitalised for preventable dental conditions, most needing general anaesthetic for tooth decay issues.
DHSV chief executive officer Deborah Cole said simple, oral hygiene changes and education could make a big difference to helping break the cycle of generational poor oral health.
This included: brush your teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste; limit sweet foods and drinks by providing healthy alternatives; drink lots of fluoridated tap water; regular dental checks.
The public oral health body is also urging children and adults to take care of their teeth this Easter, particularly when enjoying eggs and bunnies.
A top tip includes snacking on Easter eggs at mealtimes, rather than between meals, because the mouth is already producing extra saliva to fight off the acid attack.
Figures from DHSV last week also showed the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children presenting with untreated tooth decay had dropped from 15.7 per cent to 11.6 per cent in Victorian public dental clinics the past nine years.
World Oral Health Day on Tuesday promoted how a healthy mouth and body go hand-in-hand, with good oral health vital for overall health and well-being.
Hepburn Health Service offers a free public dental service for children under-12, without waiting lists, in Creswick and Daylesford clinics. This extends to secondary school aged students who have a health care card.
HHS dental staff also work closely with dieticians to educate people on eating the right foods and limiting sugar intake.
Ballarat Health Services did not respond to The Courier’s questions.