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                    [post_content] => P1010247

 

Australia’s dentists have mauled what they fear is a looming shutdown of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS), warning the program’s closure “will be the biggest setback for oral health in a generation.”

Peak body the Australian Dental Association has gone on the attack over uncertainty surrounding the scheme’s future funding in the run-up to the May 3rd Federal Budget, cautioning any rollback will come just as the subsidy program is starting to have an impact.

The CDBS is targeted at around 3.4 million children from lower income backgrounds and provides funding for families of $1,000 in dental treatment every two years.

Its core purpose is to get kids whose parents would otherwise struggle to pay a dentist’s bill turning-up to surgeries to get dental problems, especially decay and cavities, treated much earlier and before they develop into major issues that can cost thousands of dollars to fix.

However with the scheme’s take-up initially lower than estimated, there are fears the cash will be snatched back and repurposed, leading to long terms negative consequences.

As Australian kids gulp down big volumes high sugar soft drinks, dentists say cutting the CDBS isn’t just inviting a disaster, it bucks a wider international health policy push to control excess sugar consumption by using taxes to send a price signal.

“Australia is one of the top 10 countries for high levels of per capita consumption of soft drink where a third of Australians drink a can a day and almost half of children (47 per cent) aged between two and 16 years, drink sugar-sweetened beverages each day. This means that if such habits continue, Australians stand to develop a multitude of health problems in the future,” the ADA said in its statement.

“In spite of the increasing trend of government to support public health, the Australian Government is rushing to get some election year Budget savings by planning to end the Child Dental Benefits Schedule.”

One challenge the Child Dental Benefits Schedule has encountered is that although the program is hitting its mark in terms of targeting, take-up remains lower than estimated thanks to a combination of under-marketing and poor awareness of how to access the scheme.

Dentists say they want a voucher system introduced to replace the present standard form letter from Medicare so that people better understand that they’re entitled to free treatment.

While a voucher system is potentially more expensive to devise, deliver and administer than present bulk billing arrangements, many believe it would be worth implementing to maximise take-up.

A real risk for schemes and programs that underspend is that sooner or later Treasury and the government’s bean counters will seek to claw back the cash and put it to work elsewhere—precisely what the ADA is trying to avoid.

It is understood Health a primary concern of Minister Sussan Ley’s office is that uptake of the CDBS has only been around 30 per cent of eligible recipients.

While the Health Minister is certainly talking-up the long term benefits of early dental intervention, any conspicuous commitment to retaining the CDBS appears to have been shoved under the Budget cone of silence.

“The Commonwealth has a responsibility to ensure every dollar it invests in dental services delivers the best health outcomes possible,” a spokesman for Ms Ley said.

“We also know that tackling dental health issues early is vital and can alleviate more significant problems and expense later in life. The Turnbull Government continues to work on its previously announced dental health reforms, with more details expected in coming weeks.”

However Labor’s Shadow health Minister, Catherine King, is accusing the Turnbull government of purposefully burying the scheme she says Labor first put in place.

“The government's own report confirms Labor's dental scheme is a success,” Ms King told Government News.

“It shows the scheme has been providing dental devices to the kids who need it most but the Turnbull government is deliberately hiding this, denying millions of kids the chance to get their teeth fixed.”

One obvious policy option both major parties will be cautiously observing is the rollout of taxes and levies on sugary drinks overseas to combat obesity and diabetes – a far tougher public policy sell in a sugar exporting economy like Australia.

Dentists, who frequently go into bat against sugar marketers, are happy to point out how domestic policy contrasts and link it back to the kids’ dental program.

“While the United Kingdom is protecting oral health by announcing its sugar tax, the Australian Government instead plans to kill the Child Dental Benefits Schedule,” the Dental Association said.

It argues that in the two years the scheme has been operating it’s been hitting the mark.

“In just over the two years of the CDBS’ operation, children from low income families have benefited from provision of more than 9.7 million dental treatments; services which they could not otherwise have been able to access,” the Dental Association said.

“No government can legitimately claim it cares about Australian children’s oral health if it denies them dental care because of the lack of means.”
                    [post_title] => Pulling kids dental scheme a kick in the teeth: Dentists
                    [post_excerpt] => Mistake of a generation.
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                    [post_date] => 2014-07-31 22:44:09
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                    [post_content] => Teeth

Australia’s widespread fluoridation of drinking water to mitigate tooth decay is being put in the reclining chair for regular a check-up, as Australia’s foremost health experts seek to drill into the latest evidence on its effectiveness.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) this week called for public submissions on evidence regarding the efficacy of the practice as part of a wider, ongoing formal assessment about whether the decades-long scheme is bringing the desired benefits.

The call for published scientific articles is the first step in what the NHMRC says is “a comprehensive review process” to make sure the advice it provides “is based on the most current evidence.”

The issue of fortifying town drinking water supplies has risen sharply in prominence over the last few years after anti-fluoridation groups in some regional communities agitated strongly for the removal of the compound from town water supplies in a number of local government areas.

However dentists have strongly rejected the calls for the removal of fluoride from drinking water, sticking by its efficacy in mitigating decay and pointing to the high cost of poor oral health and even surgical interventions to remove entire sets of rotten teeth from children.

The issue of water fluoridation is a tricky one for state and local governments to navigate in Australia. Outside metropolitan areas, it is usually councils responsible for adding the compound to water supplies.

The election of the Campbell Newman government in Queensland also conspicuously left it to councils to determine whether or not they would fluoridate drinking water rather than using state government powers to stipulate a requirement.

Several local governments are across the states are also still to add fluoride to town water, often because of funding constraints or ageing infrastructure.

Amid the ongoing debate, Australia’s peak health research body is looking for the latest clinical evidence.

“Current NHMRC advice recommends that water be fluoridated at the level of 0.6 to 1.1 mg/L, which balances the benefits of reduced tooth decay with the occurrence of dental mottling (fluorosis),” the NHMRC said in a statement

“This call for published scientific articles is the first step in a comprehensive review process to ensure that NHMRC’s advice is based on the most current evidence.”

The reference to the “most current evidence” is important because it signifies that the review will be a scan for recent empirical updates rather than a wholesale review of fluoridation open to wider public submissions.

In some local government areas, anti-fluoridation activists have sought – with varying degrees of success - to persuade councillors to push for the elimination of the practice on the basis that fluoride is toxic, even in very small amounts.

Following the call for papers, the NHMRC expects evidence evaluation to be completed by mid-2015, with a public consultation on a draft information Paper slated for mid to late 2015.

It estimates that a final Information Paper will be issued by mid 2016.
                    [post_title] => Official check-up for Australian water fluoridation
                    [post_excerpt] => Comprehensive review process into effectiveness

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                    [post_content] => 03-15: At the Dentist

By Dr Karin Alexander*

In the 1930s, American scientists and public health researchers made a simple, but profoundly important discovery. People living in towns with around one part per million of fluoride found naturally in their drinking water had much less tooth decay that people whose drinking water contained lower levels of fluoride.

All water supplies contain fluoride, but the levels can vary significantly. At the time, tooth decay in Western countries was a greater public health problem than today, and most people wore false teeth from early adulthood.

After extensive research, a trial of artificial community water fluoridation began in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1945. The massive decay rates of the time plummeted, and trials in other parts of America and Canada soon followed. Over the next few decades, water fluoridation became widely accepted throughout the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Brazil and many other countries around the world.

In Australia, the first fluoridated towns were Beaconsfield in Tasmania (site of the 2006 mine collapse) in 1953 and Yass in New South Wales in 1956. Most Australian states and territories quickly recognized the huge health, financial and social benefits of water fluoridation, and legislation ensured that most towns and cities were fluoridated by the 1960s and 70s.

The exception was in Queensland, where the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act 1963 considered fluoridation to be a water treatment issue rather than a health issue. Responsibility for fluoridation decision making was placed solely in the hands of local councils.

By 2008, the only Queensland towns fluoridating their water supplies were Townsville, Moranbah, Mareeba and Dalby. This represented less than 5 per cent of Queenslanders, compared with around 80-90 per cent of Australians in other states and territories.

Decades without widespread water fluoridation had a dramatic effect on dental health in Queensland. Australian Child Dental Health Surveys have been conducted every year or two since the 1980s. Invariably they show Queensland children experiencing more tooth decay than children from other states. However, this underestimates the positive effect of water fluoridation, since not all children from other states drink fluoridated water, and many Queensland children will have come from interstate, and will have grown up drinking fluoridated water.

To address this issue, the 2002 Australian Child Dental Health Survey examined more than 136,000 children across Australia, and specifically recorded whether they drank fluoridated water or not.

The Survey found that no matter which state or territory children came from, what age group they were, whether they were rich or poor or in between, whether they lived in the capital city or regionally or remotely, children who drank fluoridated water had much less tooth decay than children who didn't.

These findings were confirmed by a major 2012 review paper which analysed all studies published worldwide from 1990-2010, in any language, examining the effects of water fluoridation.

The authors found 59 studies from 10 countries, including thirteen from Australia.
Without exception, every one of these studies showed a significant reduction in tooth decay, with most showing reductions of around 25-50 per cent.

More than kids stuff

Water fluoridation is not just for children. Another recently published study was based on data collected from the National Survey of Adult Oral Health 2004-06. Dental examinations of 5,505 adults from around Australia found significantly less decay experience in adults drinking fluoridated water.
These benefits were also seen in adults who had grown up prior to the introduction of fluoride toothpaste and fluoridated water. Greater benefits were shown for adults who had been drinking fluoridated water for longer.

It is important to note that measured reductions in tooth decay experience may actually underestimate the effect of water fluoridation. Fillings have a limited life span, and are regularly replaced or repaired.

Preventing one permanent tooth cavity in a child may prevent not just one cavity, but a whole lifetime of treatment on that tooth, with each successive treatment becoming larger, more complex and more expensive.

Widespread water fluoridation in Queensland was finally mandated by the Bligh State Government in 2008, with the State Government paying capital costs and local councils all ongoing costs.

Inexplicably the current Queensland Government amended this legislation in 2012 and once again placed responsibility for fluoridation decision making in the hands of local councils.

Many councils, including those from major regional centres such as Cairns, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Maryborough, Hervey Bay and Mount Isa, opted out of fluoridation. Some buckled under the pressure of scaremongering claims from anti-fluoride lobby groups, and others refused to pay the ongoing costs.

The Australian Dental Association recognizes the right of State Governments to legislate as they see fit, but the public health of Queenslanders was clearly not considered in the passing of the amendments, and no health authorities were consulted during the legislative process.

The amended legislation required that councils make decisions on water fluoridation "in the best interests of their communities", but are the best interests of people from Cairns, Rockhampton and Bundaberg any different to the best interests of people from Brisbane, Townsville, Toowoomba and the majority of councils which retained water fluoridation?

Bigger responsibilities

Communities and their elected representatives should always be involved in a consultation process whenever water fluoridation or any other important measures are planned, but the greatest public health and scientific expertise lies at State and Federal levels of government.

Responsibility for decision making on water fluoridation and other complex public health matters should therefore also rest at these levels. Public health policy in Australia must be driven by proven science and the best interests of Australians, not misinformation and conspiracy theory web sites.

The current National Oral Health Plan urges fluoridation of water supplies in all towns with populations over 1,000, and was signed by all federal, state and territory Health Ministers in 2004.

Failure to take action on a serious public health problem when a safe, cheap and proven preventive measure is available is inexcusable.

Many northern NSW councils have yet to fluoridate their water supplies, and in widely publicised moves, Lismore City Council recently voted against its introduction, then rescinded that motion.

Children in northern NSW are reported to have more than double the number cavities of children in other parts of the state, and NSW Health confirmed that they were almost twice as likely to be hospitalised for dental extractions.

Directly or indirectly, we all pay dearly for the level of dental disease in our communities, and it is in all our interests to reduce health, financial and social costs of that disease.

Water fluoridation and fluoride toothpaste have contributed to a dramatic reduction in tooth decay in Australian children, but decay levels have actually been rising again since the mid-1990s. By the age of 6, more than half of Australian children have already suffered tooth decay.

By the age of 8, this rises to more than two thirds. Tooth decay is often painful, and its treatment is difficult, distressing and expensive. Prevention is better than a cure.

Some people are opposed to water fluoridation, just as some people are opposed to vaccinations.

Anti-fluoride lobby groups clutch at every possible straw in their attempts to deprive Australians of water fluoridation, but their arguments are invariably based on ignorance and the fear factor. Most are centred on what they claim are health and ethical concerns.

Water fluoridation is probably the most widely studied public health measure of all time. Hundreds of studies over many decades have assessed possible associations between water fluoridation and a wide range of health conditions, and the scientific evidence in favour of water fluoridation is now overwhelming.

The evidence is in

Systematic reviews from Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council and health authorities around the world consistently find that water fluoridation does not cause harmful health effects.

In 2001, the World Health Organization described water fluoridation as "…the most effective public health measure for the prevention of dental decay", later declaring that "universal access to fluoride for dental health is a part of the basic human right to health".

The US-based Centers for Disease Control has ranked water fluoridation alongside control of infectious diseases and the decline in deaths from heart disease and strokes as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century.

Within Australia, water fluoridation is endorsed by no less than the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Medical Association, Australian Dental Association, Australian Academy of Science, Australian Public Health Association, and all federal, state and territory health departments.

Endorsement of water fluoridation from dentists, doctors and other health professional groups is based on a strong commitment to ethical practice and a rigorous scientific peer review process.

Decisions and recommendations are made in the interests of patients and the community.

And support for water fluoridation within Australia is not limited to major health authorities. After a detailed analysis of water fluoridation in 2007, the independent and highly respected Choice magazine concluded that "There's now solid scientific evidence that fluoride added to drinking water helps to protect your teeth from decay".

Choice pointedly added that "The claims of those who oppose fluoridation are often based on out-dated information, questionable research and selectively picking studies that support their case". What about the shrill accusations that water fluoridation is unethical, and a "mass medication"?
Emotive words indeed, and they raise the unpleasant spectacle of Big Brother. But fluoride is a substance already found naturally in water, plants, rocks, soil and food.

No governments, legal systems or health authorities anywhere in Australia have ever described water fluoridation as a medication or drug. In 2006, the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Department of Health and Ageing, and the New Zealand Ministry of Health specifically described fluoride as a nutrient, adding that "Because of its role in the prevention of dental caries (tooth decay), fluoride has been classified as essential to human health".

The great Australian bite

All decisions at all levels of government will be opposed by some, but governments have a responsibility to make decisions for the greater public good. Examples in public health include mandatory seat belts in cars, smoking restrictions, blood alcohol laws, the chlorination of drinking water to prevent water-borne illnesses and the mandatory addition of folic acid, thiamine and iodized salt to all bread products in Australia to prevent spina bifida, nerve damage, goitre and the mental retardation associated with iodine deficiency.

Are these "mass medication" or unethical breaches of liberty? Of course not. Our communities expect governments to make such decisions, and readily accept these and water fluoridation as simple, sensible, and highly effective public health measures.

Water fluoridation can be a difficult political issue. Those working in federal, state, and local governments know well the passion and the fury of the anti-fluoride lobby. The large majority of letters, e-mails and phone calls to elected representatives are opposed to water fluoridation, but most come from other towns and other states, even other countries!

On-line polls and voluntary referendums and mail-outs attract the vehemently opposed rather than the silent majority who wonder what all the fuss is about. Despite these setbacks, reputable public opinion surveys consistently show that a high proportion of Australians recognize the benefits of water fluoridation and want their drinking water to be fluoridated.

The minority who disagree still have the options of drinking tank water, filtered water or bottled water, but they cannot be allowed to deprive the majority of Australians of a proven health measure.

In his 1956 Pulitzer Prize winning book Profiles in Courage, the future US President John F. Kennedy acknowledged the "...pressure groups and letter writers (who) represent only a small percentage of the voters" and cautioned that their views cannot be ignored.

But after weighing up competing views, Kennedy concluded by reserving his highest praise for public officials who could rise above competing interests - those willing to compromise on issues, but not on principles. Few principles are more important than public health.

Dr Karin Alexander is the Federal President of the Australian Dental Association Inc.
                    [post_title] => Dentists drill councils over water fluoridation decay
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                    [post_date] => 2013-09-05 16:46:22
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                    [post_content] => 

By Julian Bajkowski

Australia’s official body for dentists has taken a bite out of Australia’s main political parties over what it claims is a “deafening silence” over local governments controversially removing fluoride from town water supplies against the interests of public health.

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) is warning that taxpayers and the federally funded Child Dental Benefits Scheme will soon have to pick-up the big tab for an increase in tooth decay that will stem from councils stopping fluoridation unless action is taken.

The dentists say no matter who wins the election, the anti-fluoridation rot needs to stop quickly as more children succumb to serious decay.

“The Child Dental Benefits Scheme, which has bipartisan support, will be called on to fund more fillings or extractions if there is no longer support for fluoride,” said Dr Karin Alexander, federal president of the ADA.

“Does the future Federal Government really want to create further dental problems that will cost more to fix later?”

The dentist’s hard word on Canberra comes after Lismore Shire Council and Byron Shire Councils in New South Wales passed votes that would allow an end to fluoridation of water.

The issue is also burning in Queensland where an increasing number of councils – now more than 10 - have voted to stop fluoridation after the Campbell Newman government allowed local governments to opt out of what had previously been a requirement.

Dentists now want whoever gains power in Canberra to show firm leadership on the issue by pressing state governments in New South Wales and Queensland to stand up to anti-fluoride campaigners which most public health advocates believe are pushing arguments that are not well grounded in science.

“The Federal Government should not allow local councils to be swayed by fringe groups who peddle fear, innuendo and conspiracy theories to remove fluoride or discontinue its use from water supplies,” Dr Alexander said.

“We understand that the Federal Government does not have direct power over water supplies. However, that does not mean the future Federal Government has the right to stand idly by while Queensland and NSW divest their responsibility to public health.”

A number of public health advocates are also turning up the heat on councils and state governments to check the influence of anti-treatment campaigners, citing increasing dental problems among young people.

Fairfax Media this month cited figures from the NSW Department of Health that showed “hospital admissions for the removal or restoration of teeth among children aged up to four in the Northern NSW Local Health District was 563.5 per 100,000 children a year - about 93 children” compared to an “average across NSW [of] 331.1 per 100,000.”

The campaign by anti-fluoridation groups has also highlighted tensions within the NSW Cabinet after Health Minister Jillian Skinner reportedly said that a discussion paper, with public input, on whether the state should take over control of water fluoridation.

However NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell later batted away any notion of Macquarie Street wresting control of fluoridation by saying it was a matter for councils to decide.

But even though the Premier is eschewing any formal intervention, Mr O’Farrell went on to blast Lismore Council’s vote against fluoridation as a “stupid decision” and suggested it could soon be reversed.

According to the Oral Health Committee of the ADA, the only NSW councils that are now fluoridating their water supplies are:

Ballina, Boorowa, Brewarrina, Byron, Cabonne, Carrathool, Lismore, Liverpool Plains (Gunnedah), Murrumbidgee, Narrabri, Narrandera, Narromine, Oberon, Rous County Council, Lismore, Richmond Valley, Upper Hunter, Wakool, Warren and Wentworth..

The ADA noted that “Kempsey is only partly fluoridated, but will soon increase its fluoridation program” while “Gwydir and Walgett are not currently fluoridated, but should commence very soon.”

Councils in Queensland that that ADA says were fluoridating but have now stopped since the Campbell Newman LNP government passed legislation to allow them to opt out are Cairns, Cherbourg, Doomadgee, North Burnett (Gayndah, Monto, Mundubbera), Rockhampton, South Burnett (Nanango, Murgon) and Wide Bay (Maryborough, Hervey Bay).

The ADA lists councils that were scheduled to fluoridate under the 2008 mandatory legislation, but have since decided to not to proceed as: Atherton Tablelands, Bundaberg, Cassowary Coast (Innisfail), Cloncurry, numerous water sources in the Toowoomba area, Whitsunday (Bowen, Proserpine), Balonne (St George), Barcaldine, Blackall, Murweh (Charleville), Paroo (Cunnamulla), Mount Isa.

But it’s not a one size fits all approach.

“There are often legitimate reasons why councils don't fluoridate their water supplies,” the ADA said.

“They may already have naturally occurring fluoride in the water at about the right level, fluoridation may be impractical and costly because the town water comes from a bore and isn't treated,” thye ADA said.

“Sometimes the town is too small, they have difficulty in attracting or retaining trained water treatment plant operators [or] the water tastes terrible and everyone drinks tank water.

“Unfortunately we are not able to identify the specific reasons why each of these towns isn't fluoridated, but in northern NSW the views of the alternative life-stylers are probably an influence.”

It is understood that issue of fluoridation will be among the topics put up for discussion and debated at the annual Local Government NSW Conference in Sydney on 1st October to 3rd October 2013.

[post_title] => Feds bitten by dentists over local government fluoridation failures [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => feds-bitten-by-dentists-over-local-government-fluoridation-failures [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-02-21 11:04:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-02-21 00:04:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 6 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 4 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23582 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-04-11 16:41:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-11 06:41:26 [post_content] => P1010247   Australia’s dentists have mauled what they fear is a looming shutdown of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS), warning the program’s closure “will be the biggest setback for oral health in a generation.” Peak body the Australian Dental Association has gone on the attack over uncertainty surrounding the scheme’s future funding in the run-up to the May 3rd Federal Budget, cautioning any rollback will come just as the subsidy program is starting to have an impact. The CDBS is targeted at around 3.4 million children from lower income backgrounds and provides funding for families of $1,000 in dental treatment every two years. Its core purpose is to get kids whose parents would otherwise struggle to pay a dentist’s bill turning-up to surgeries to get dental problems, especially decay and cavities, treated much earlier and before they develop into major issues that can cost thousands of dollars to fix. However with the scheme’s take-up initially lower than estimated, there are fears the cash will be snatched back and repurposed, leading to long terms negative consequences. As Australian kids gulp down big volumes high sugar soft drinks, dentists say cutting the CDBS isn’t just inviting a disaster, it bucks a wider international health policy push to control excess sugar consumption by using taxes to send a price signal. “Australia is one of the top 10 countries for high levels of per capita consumption of soft drink where a third of Australians drink a can a day and almost half of children (47 per cent) aged between two and 16 years, drink sugar-sweetened beverages each day. This means that if such habits continue, Australians stand to develop a multitude of health problems in the future,” the ADA said in its statement. “In spite of the increasing trend of government to support public health, the Australian Government is rushing to get some election year Budget savings by planning to end the Child Dental Benefits Schedule.” One challenge the Child Dental Benefits Schedule has encountered is that although the program is hitting its mark in terms of targeting, take-up remains lower than estimated thanks to a combination of under-marketing and poor awareness of how to access the scheme. Dentists say they want a voucher system introduced to replace the present standard form letter from Medicare so that people better understand that they’re entitled to free treatment. While a voucher system is potentially more expensive to devise, deliver and administer than present bulk billing arrangements, many believe it would be worth implementing to maximise take-up. A real risk for schemes and programs that underspend is that sooner or later Treasury and the government’s bean counters will seek to claw back the cash and put it to work elsewhere—precisely what the ADA is trying to avoid. It is understood Health a primary concern of Minister Sussan Ley’s office is that uptake of the CDBS has only been around 30 per cent of eligible recipients. While the Health Minister is certainly talking-up the long term benefits of early dental intervention, any conspicuous commitment to retaining the CDBS appears to have been shoved under the Budget cone of silence. “The Commonwealth has a responsibility to ensure every dollar it invests in dental services delivers the best health outcomes possible,” a spokesman for Ms Ley said. “We also know that tackling dental health issues early is vital and can alleviate more significant problems and expense later in life. The Turnbull Government continues to work on its previously announced dental health reforms, with more details expected in coming weeks.” However Labor’s Shadow health Minister, Catherine King, is accusing the Turnbull government of purposefully burying the scheme she says Labor first put in place. “The government's own report confirms Labor's dental scheme is a success,” Ms King told Government News. “It shows the scheme has been providing dental devices to the kids who need it most but the Turnbull government is deliberately hiding this, denying millions of kids the chance to get their teeth fixed.” One obvious policy option both major parties will be cautiously observing is the rollout of taxes and levies on sugary drinks overseas to combat obesity and diabetes – a far tougher public policy sell in a sugar exporting economy like Australia. Dentists, who frequently go into bat against sugar marketers, are happy to point out how domestic policy contrasts and link it back to the kids’ dental program. “While the United Kingdom is protecting oral health by announcing its sugar tax, the Australian Government instead plans to kill the Child Dental Benefits Schedule,” the Dental Association said. It argues that in the two years the scheme has been operating it’s been hitting the mark. “In just over the two years of the CDBS’ operation, children from low income families have benefited from provision of more than 9.7 million dental treatments; services which they could not otherwise have been able to access,” the Dental Association said. “No government can legitimately claim it cares about Australian children’s oral health if it denies them dental care because of the lack of means.” [post_title] => Pulling kids dental scheme a kick in the teeth: Dentists [post_excerpt] => Mistake of a generation. 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03-15: At the Dentist

Dentists drill councils over water fluoridation decay

By Dr Karin Alexander* In the 1930s, American scientists and public health researchers made a simple, but profoundly important discovery. People living in towns with around one part per million of fluoride found naturally in their drinking water had much less tooth decay that people whose drinking water contained lower levels of fluoride. All water […]

Feds bitten by dentists over local government fluoridation failures

By Julian Bajkowski Australia’s official body for dentists has taken a bite out of Australia’s main political parties over what it claims is a “deafening silence” over local governments controversially removing fluoride from town water supplies against the interests of public health. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) is warning that taxpayers and the federally funded […]