Kids' dental health declines

New research reveals sugary food and drinks are proving a disaster for Aussie children's teeth.
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01.Tooth decay increases

Boy brushing his teeth

A worrying report has revealed that improvements made in children's dental health over the past two decades have either stagnated or reversed. The news comes hot on the heels of a survey CHOICE reported on earlier this month, which found that sugary food and drinks are proving a disaster for Aussie children's teeth.

From 1977 to 1995, there was a steady drop in the average number of children's baby teeth affected by decay. According to a report from the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW) this trend has now reversed, with a gradual rise from 1996. And from the late 1990s, there has also been a gradual increase in decay of children's permanent teeth.

Key report statistics

  • 48% of children aged 5 have decayed, missing or filled baby teeth
  • 63% of children aged 9 have decayed, missing or filled baby teeth
  • 2.63 – the average number of decayed, missing or filled permanent teeth for children aged 15

Some good news

According to the AIHW, there was a peak in 2001 of about one fissure sealed tooth on average in children aged 12. Fissure sealing involves the application of a material to fill the pits and grooves of permanent teeth, usually molars, sealing them to prevent build-up of bacteria and plaque. This decreased to 0.73 in 2010.

And a high proportion of kids aged from five to 14 are visiting the dentist regularly, with 78% having visited the dentist in the last 12 months and 91% in the last two years.

To find private heath insurance policies with good dental cover please check our private health insurance review.



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