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Friday, 22 September 2017

HEALTHIER SMILES FOR ABORIGINAL KIDS IN THE LODDON MALLEE

Aboriginal children in the Loddon Mallee Region will receive free fluoride varnish as part of a new Andrews Labor Government outreach program to prevent tooth decay.

State Members for Bendigo, Maree Edwards and Jacinta Allan today announced $250,000 for the program that will deliver fluoride varnish applications and oral health promotion with tooth packs to Aboriginal preschool children at their local early childhood services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs).

The Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative (BDAC), in partnership with local early childhood services and community dental agencies, will lead and implement the program across the Loddon Mallee Region.

Many Aboriginal children have higher levels of tooth decay in their baby teeth compared to non-Aboriginal children. The group aged five and under have almost one and a half times the rate of hospitalisation for dental related care as compared to non-Aboriginal children.

Fluoride varnish when applied to teeth provides a protective covering that helps prevent tooth decay in young children.

Tooth decay remains one of the most prevalent diseases in Victoria. Almost half of all children have signs of tooth decay and dental conditions are the highest cause of preventable hospitalisations for Victorian children under 10.

Thirty-seven per cent of children in preschools have early signs of tooth decay which can be reversed by applying fluoride varnish.

Oral health promotion, screening and early detection and prevention of oral disease is crucial to reducing the burden of oral disease and inequalities in oral health.

The Labor Government is developing a new action plan to improve the oral health of Victorians and reduce the gap in oral health outcomes for people that are at higher risk of oral disease, supported by $14.7 million over four years. The plan will target oral health promotion and prevention programs in communities where it’s needed most.

We are also investing $226.1 million in public dental services in 2017/18 – a 9.7 per cent increase from the previous year – so more Victorians than ever can access high quality and safe dental care, sooner.

Quotes attributable to the Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards

“We know good oral health is the foundation for good overall health throughout life. That is why we are taking action to prevent tooth decay for Aboriginal children and keep their smiles bright and healthy.”

Quotes attributable to the Member for Bendigo East, Jacinta Allan

A healthier mouth means people can eat, speak and socialise without pain, discomfort or embarrassment.”

Providing fluoride varnish to our youngest kids will improve oral health in the long term by preventing tooth decay early.”

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