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Protecting children's teeth and gums

More than 75% of all children aged under 5 have never been to the dentist, according to the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics Survey (HILDA Report) released by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research on 20 July. 

Protecting the teeth and gums of children under 5

ADA NSW recommends that children see a dentist at 12 months of age or after they get their first tooth, and should then revisit the dentist every 6 months.

Regular visits to the dentist are especially important for young children as baby teeth can easily become infected and are prone to decay.

Protecting tiny teeth provides a wealth of information and resources to help parents protect their children’s teeth.

Good oral health for teenagers

The HILDA Report also found that more than 33% of children under 15 have either never been to the dentist or have not been in the last 5 years. 

Sugary and sports drinks, smoking and eating disorders all have negative effects on teenagers’ teeth and gums. Protecting teen teeth provides useful advice and links for maintaining and improving teenagers’ oral hygiene.

Other findings

Other findings of the HILDA Report are:

  • 'children living in non-urban areas are ... considerably more likely to have seen a dentist in the last two years than children living in major urban or other urban areas' (p. 94 of report)
  • the probability of children not seeing a dentist in the past 2 years is to some extent reliant on income (pp 93-94 of report)
  • in 2013 compared with 2009, slightly more children under 15 have never been to the dentist or have not been in the last 5 years (33.6% compared with 32.8%) (table 9.3, p. 90 of report) .

Top 5 tips for sparkling teeth

  1. Drink and give your children water rather than juice. Even natural fruit juices are high in acids and sugar.
  2. Brush your and your children’s teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste.
  3. After eating sugary foods, rinse your mouth well with tap water.
  4. Chew sugar-free chewing gum: this action increases the amount of saliva in your mouth. Saliva contains enzymes that help to prevent tooth decay.
  5. Visit the dentist every 6 months if you can, or every 12 months otherwise.

Find out more