• March 9, 2018
  • Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh

Hello Everyone!!

Did you catch dentistry in the news earlier this week?

Sadly, it’s not happy news. The Royal Children’s Hospital has published its latest poll and it seems that Australian children are not getting passing grades when it comes to oral health.

So, why is this important? As you may already know, children have 20 primary or deciduous teeth that will be replaced by up to 32 adult or permanent teeth. We are still finding that parents are not as concerned about the health of those baby teeth for the simple reason that they do fall out. You get new ones, no worries, right?

You’ve probably guessed where I’m going with this—baby teeth are just as important as adult teeth!! But the “why” is often not as intuitive, so here is your Oral Health Lesson for the week:

  1. Poor oral health in childhood is strongly correlated with poor oral health in adulthood.1 This means that the likelihood of disease experience follows you as you age and we are enthusiastic promoters of early intervention and maintenance to avoid the potential of long-term problems.
  2. Adverse dental health conditions that are experienced in childhood are associated with missed days from school and decreased attendance rates.2 We all know how important school is, yes?
  3. There is also some concern that dental disease may impede a child’s ability to socialise with others and negatively impact their ability to form relationships.2 If you’ve seen any of the most recent “Married at first sight” series you may want to encourage your kids to be able to form normal relationships on their own!

But in all seriousness, there are some things that need to be happening with your children at home.

  1. Please brush their teeth for and with them. Children require help as their dexterity is not as proficient as an adult would. The ADA recommends you start brushing as soon as the teeth start erupting.3 We would love to help you and your munchkins with this if you would like!
  2. We know everyone is aware of sugar but please do monitor the amount your children are consuming, as best you can of course! I think we are all fairly vigilant about lollies and eating sugar but the RCH is citing the sugar in drinks as a major problem.4
  3. Bring them in for a check-up. Both the ADA and the RCH recommend a check-up by the time your baby is a year old, or when they get their first teeth. 3, 4 We have weekday, evening and Saturday appointments for you to choose from and kids have always been Health Fund Only (which means no gap!) in our practice. You can also bring them along to your appointment, just so they can suss it all out.

Hopefully, the next report from the RCH will be more positive. We’re looking forward to seeing you and your littlies soon!


1)      http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/report_nacdh~report_nacdh_ch1~report_nacdh_ch

2)      http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/report_nacdh~report_nacdh_ch1~report_nacdh_out

3)      https://www.ada.org.au/Your-Dental-Health/Children-0-11/Babies

4)      https://www.rchpoll.org.au/polls/child-oral-health-habits-in-australian-homes/

Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh
About The Author

Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh

Catherine-Anne is a New Zealand-qualified dentist. She holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from Sydney University and she has a broad range of experiences from working in both the public and private sector.


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