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Griffith parents urged to apply for Child Dental Benefits Schedule

25 January 2020 
The Area News, Griffith 
Calhan Behrendt
The state's dental association is urging parents to consider applying for a scheme providing Medicare-funded dental treatment for children.

The Australian Dental Association's NSW Branch is encouraging parents apply for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule to help reduce the amount of children needing to undergo treatment in hospital for dental-related issues.

The scheme allows eligible children between the ages of two and 17 to get access to $1000 of subsidised treatment over a two-year period.

President of the Australian Dental Association's NSW Branch Dr Kathleen Matthews said one of the focuses of the scheme was on preventing permanent damage to teeth at a young age by helping to make dental visits affordable.

"We know that across the population the more decay found in teeth when they are younger, the more vulnerable they are to decay as they get older," Dr Matthews said.

"Teeth are so important to overall well-being, while poor oral health can also contribute to debilitating health conditions such as diabetes and obesity.

"Most people know it's important to visit their dentist, but cost can be a huge barrier to accessing treatment."

According to data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 137 hospital bed days were taken up in the Griffith-Murrumbidgee (West) statistical area due to potentially preventable dental-related conditions during the 2017-18 reporting year, the highest number in the past five reporting years, while 7,855 people under the age of 19 in NSW needed hospital treatment for dental problems in the same reporting year.

Dr Matthews said dental checkups are one way of ensuring one's oral health is maintained and with the scheme covering services such as examinations, x-rays, fillings, root canals and simple extractions, children will be able to avoid the need to go into hospital for dental conditions which could be preventable before hospital treatment.

"In NSW we know too many children end up in hospital for potentially preventable dental conditions," Dr Matthews said.

"It puts a burden on our health systems... and potentially prevents someone else from using that bed."

In order to be eligible for the scheme, the child's family must be receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A or certain other Centrelink-eligible payments.

Read The Area News Article here

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