ADA NSW welcomes Child Dental Benefits Schedule extension

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child dental benefits schedule
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The Australian Dental Association NSW welcomes news from the Government that the national Child Dental Benefits Schedule is being extended from two to four years. 

“Good health starts in early childhood and the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) has an important role,” ADA NSW president Dr Rohan Krishnan said.  

“Oral health is key to overall good health and tooth decay is a real problem in Australia—it’s the most common chronic disease in childhood.”

Approximately 45 per cent of kids in Australia haven’t visited the dentist by the age of five, according to Australia’s Oral Health Tracker

“If you don’t go to the dentist, it causes huge problems later in life—there are about 70,000 potentially preventable hospitalisations for dental conditions every year in Australia,” Dr Krishnan added. 

Since 2014, the national Child Dental Benefits Schedule has looked after the teeth of more than 900,000 disadvantaged kids. The means-tested scheme, under which vulnerable children under 17 can get up to $1026 over two years for basic dental work, has delivered 7.6 million treatments in eight years. Funding for the scheme was due to end next year but has been extended for another four years. 

While the longer time frame is a good first step, ADA NSW is also calling on the Government to better promote the CDBS and bolster its utilisation. Many dentists support the scheme, but only about 40 per cent of children across Australia access it, and particularly families from the most disadvantaged areas are missing out. 

ADA NSW would like to see more activities to promote the scheme such as visiting schools, and invites the Government to work with both their federal and state branches to help market and promote it as well as identify those areas most in need.

“There is also more the Federal and State Governments can do for oral health,” Dr Krishnan said.

“They also can start working with us as the state branch to address the maldistribution of dentists, and think about a Senior Dental Benefits Scheme for older Australians and older Australians in care homes who are missing out on oral health.” 

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