Victorian preschoolers’ oral health revealed

Copyright: cherrymerry / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: cherrymerry / 123RF Stock Photo

Cost, belief that the child “doesn’t really need to go” and “not enough time” are the top three reasons parents in Victoria are not taking their children to the dentist, according to the Victorian Preschooler Oral Health Survey.

In the largest and first ever state wide study of its kind in Victoria— a joint initiative of Dental Health Services Victoria’s (DHSV’s) Centre for Applied Oral Health Research and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services—data was gathered from 1,845 children aged 3-5 years who received a dental examination at 61 Victorian Smiles 4 Miles preschools in 2014/15.

The survey also found the following:

  • 57 per cent of children showed a history of decay.
  • Boys from rural areas had more decayed surfaces than girls from rural areas.
  • Children who drank soft drink once or more a day had almost twice the number of decayed surfaces than those who rarely/never drank soft drink.
  • Odds of plaque being present in substantial amounts across many teeth was 68 per cent higher for children whose parents held a health care/pensioner card.
  • 27 in every 1,000 children had received dental treatment under a general anaesthetic.
  • 37 per cent of children had only early decay white spots. These white spots can be repaired by applying fluoride.
  • 40 per cent of parents were assisting their preschoolers to brush their teeth twice a day.
  • Children that lived in areas where their water source was fluoridated had less tooth decay.
  • Children from low socio-economic background, Aboriginal children and children who live in families who do not speak English at home had significantly higher rates of tooth decay.

DHSV CEO Dr Deborah Cole said the results highlighted the importance of making sure oral health remained at the forefront of general health with a strong emphasis on preventative care.

“Our new Strategic Plan also recognises this and we will continue to work hard in eradicating tooth decay as Australia’s most common health problem.”

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  1. Dental fluorosis is very common in populations subjected to forced-fluoridation. Fluoride ingestion causes white spots on the teeth.

    “Children that lived in areas where their water source was fluoridated had less tooth decay.” Fluoridationists don’t understand the difference between correlation and causation. There is no credible evidence that taking fluoride in water is anything but harmful and useless.

  2. Fluoride is an essential trace element. But, as all nutrients, it can become toxic in excess.

    Worst cases of tooth decay are much worse than worst cases of fluorosis, Dan. And much more common. At least fluorosis sufferers still have teeth.

    Also, fluorosis occurs when ambient fluoride levels are around ten times that of of WHO recommendations.

    Never go near the sea, Dan. Sea water has around double the level of fluoride recommended by WHO for drinking water.

    • Fluoride is NOT an essential trace element. There is no known normal biological process that requires fluoride. The fluoride compounds used in water fluoridation have a mean lethal dose of around 100mg per kg bodyweight, so these are correctly classed as poisons, as is written on the bags and drums in which they are shipped.
      Fluorosis is well documented at levels recommended by the WHO, even WHO recognizes this – your comment is either simply uninformed or purposeful misinformation.
      Sea water has double levels of fluoride than recommended for drinking water? Incorrect but also what is the relevance, no one recommends to drink sea water.
      The US CDC have been among the biggest supporters of water fluoridation. Even their scientists agree any purported effect of fluoride on teeth is topical, not systemic. Fluoretic tooth enamel is no more acid resistant than tooth enamel without fluoride. Ingesting fluoride, a well recognized neurotoxin, for the purpose of protecting the teeth is a rediculous proposition. The experience of the 97% of Europeans who do not ingest fluoridated water is that tooth decay rates continue to fall at the same rate as countries where fluoridated water has been offered for centuries. The opinions of the WHO and our peak professional bodies about the purported benefits versus risks of fluoridated water are in a minority, and based on a flawed belief system the rest of the world rejected decades ago.


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