Mission to improve youth dental health

OVER one-third of preschoolers have never seen a dentist and most parents believe children don’t need to see one before they’re three years old.

Yet one-quarter of Australian children have tooth decay that requires filling by early primary school. One in 10 require an extraction.
Concerned at the alarming rise of toddlers with dental cavities, Padstow dentist Bill Kalis and his team are using Dental Health Week (August 5-11) to launch a pilot aimed at improving the oral health of young children in the area and beyond.
Dr Kalis is planning to start the crusade at the Rise and Shine Kindergarten group, marking his 25th year as a dentist, after seeing scores of children at his surgery suffering the effects of sugary drinks.
“I’m hoping the visit will dispel children’s fears about visiting the dentist and teach them about caring for their teeth, including brushing, flossing and diet,” Dr Kalis said.
“I’m also planning to run an information night for parents because so many with young children, seem not to be aware of the harmful effects of sugar which is in so much of what we eat today.
“I just see so many children needing treatment and want to reduce the potentially avoidable hospitalisations.
“I plan to screen children at the childcare centre and then return for follow up support and education; the message is that going to the dentist is a safe and fun experience.”
Dr Kalis said parents needed to become more aware about the dental health of their families.
“No one is immune however, even my son Steven, 7, has had a couple of cavities which caught us off guard despite our vigilance. It’s just the amount of sugar in food these days and the inevitable kids’ parties and spoiling by grandparents.”
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