The first of thousands of kids are today getting their teeth checked for free in new mobile clinics that will visit primary schools, setting them up for a lifetime of good dental health.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Minister for Health and Medical Research Brad Hazzard and Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell officially launched the NSW Health Primary School Mobile Dental Program at Penrith South Public School.
Ms Berejiklian said 35 mobile dental clinics will provide checks and basic dental care to up to 136,000 primary school children, made possible by an investment of $70 million over four years.
“The mobile dental program builds on existing NSW public dental services that make dental care available to all Medicare eligible children for free,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“This program will bring NSW Health dental practitioners into NSW primary schools, to make it easier for children to access vital services.”
Mr Hazzard said thousands of children are admitted to NSW hospitals every year with potentially preventable dental conditions and this program could reduce presentations.
“Children’s oral health can influence their general health,” Mr Hazzard said.
“A healthy mouth ensures kids can eat, speak and socialise without discomfort and embarrassment, so it’s important that we treat and teach them about oral health early.”
Ms Mitchell said dental problems can make it very hard for school children to stay focused in class and complete their homework, and it can also lead to school absences.
“Dental problems can disrupt a child’s sleep, so they arrive at school tired making it difficult to concentrate. It can also affect their chewing and swallowing,” Ms Mitchell said.
“Children are like sponges in primary school; so educating them on the importance of regular health check-ups when they’re young will hopefully transpire to later in life as well.”
Primary school children will be offered a dental check-up, teeth clean and x-rays to look for dental decay under the program, which will initially focus on Western Sydney, the Mid North Coast and the Central Coast.