Bupa urges regular dental check-ups for kids to curb hospital surge 

hospital surge children's dental
Photo: igorkardasov 123rf

Bupa is encouraging parents to book regular dental check-ups for their families amidst research suggesting potentially preventable hospitalisation rates for young children due to dental conditions are surging at around 29 per cent above target levels.

The 2024 Oral Health Tracker Report by the Australian Dental Association, suggests that almost 11 in every 1000 Aussie children aged 5-9 were admitted for preventable hospitalisations due to dental conditions, placing pressure on the public hospital system at a time when many emergency rooms are overburdened. Tooth decay is a major contributor to serious oral health issues with more than 27 per cent of children aged 5 -10 experiencing untreated tooth decay in their baby teeth.

“Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease amongst children, which if left untreated, can lead to serious infections, ongoing pain and unfortunately a visit to the hospital that may have been avoided with good oral hygiene, healthy eating habits and regular visits to the dentist,” Bupa Dental’s principal dental officer Dr Mark Dohlad said.

“Dentists can help identify and treat dental problems before they become severe and require hospital admission. They can also provide education and advice on how to maintain good oral health and prevent future problems. By taking children to the dentist regularly, you aren’t only protecting their teeth and gums, but also helping to reduce the demand for hospital services, which are already under strain.”

With many Australians tightening household budgets in the current cost-of-living environment, initiatives are available to help families get their oral health back on track. This includes Bupa’s Members First Ultimate proposition which enables eligible members who visit participating Bupa Dental clinics to receive 100 per cent back on dental services such as two six-monthly dental check-ups and cleans, and general dental fillings.

Bupa also supports the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS), a government-funded program that provides up to $1095 for basic dental services for eligible children aged 2-17 over two calendar years to access basic dental services such as examinations, X-rays, cleaning, fillings and extractions. The CDBS can be accessed through private dental providers such as Bupa Dental.

“As a health and care company, we are committed to improving the oral health of Australians, especially children, who are at a higher risk of developing dental problems,” Dr Dohlad said.

“We encourage parents to take advantage of these no out-of-pocket products to ensure their children receive the best possible care for their teeth and gums, especially because poor oral health in childhood is the strongest predictor of further dental disease in adulthood.”

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