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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_content] => Sweet Smiles

This article first appeared in the October/November 2014 edition of Government News.

Serious and expensive oral and general health consequences are just part of the taxpayer subsidised fallout from loose regulations on pushing junk food to kids. Australian Dental Association President Dr Karin Alexander goes for a check-up.

Tooth loss due to caries (dental decay), non-carious tooth loss and subsequent replacement of failing restorations has been and is the greatest proportion of a dentist’s work.

While water fluoridation across most of Australia has had significant impact on improving oral health, by itself, it is not enough.  As the major cause of decay and non-carious tooth loss is preventable, public oral health policy must address its causative factors – poor diet.

The role of dietary carbohydrates in the causation of dental caries is well documented. The caries process involves the uptake of carbohydrates by bacteria in dental plaque to produce acids. These acids cause the pH of dental plaque to fall below the critical level leading to demineralisation of tooth structure and subsequently dental caries in susceptible individuals.

The form and frequency of sugar intake are significant factors in causing caries. Consumption of foods that combine simple carbohydrates and food acid can be particularly destructive to teeth. Not only does diet have an impact on oral health, it plays a significant role in health issues such as obesity and cancer. Nearly one in four Australian children is overweight or obese.

Causes of non-carious tooth structure loss include the exposure to acid from the consumption of soft drinks, sport drinks, fruit and fruit juices.

Guardrails for influencing children

A key preventive public measure would be better government regulation of food industry advertising.

According to ‘the Parent’s Jury’, an initiative of Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Australia-Vic, The Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society, Victoria Health, and YMCA –Victoria:
  • Australian children watch 2-3 hours of television a day, with the majority on commercial TV stations.
  • Fast food and confectionery are the two most common categories of food advertisements shown during children’s viewing times.
  • Food advertising uses attention grabbing and persuasive promotional techniques such as endorsements by characters and celebrities, ‘premium offers’, visuals, jingles and claims which can misrepresent the true nutritional value of the food.
  • Children are a key target audience for food manufacturers, as there are proportionally more advertisements for unhealthy food during TV shows that are most popular with children.
  • Current regulations generally apply to advertisements screened during TV shows rated for children and pre-schoolers. The peak viewing period for children under 14 years old is 5-9pm when up to 500,000 children watch TV, and when unhealthy food and drink advertisements are most frequent.
  • Advertising influences children’s food preferences which undermine parent’s efforts to provide their children with a healthy diet.
  • The balance of advertisements for healthy and unhealthy food groups is well out of proportion according to healthy eating guidelines.
Currently marketing to children in Australia is governed by a mix of statutory regulations, and regulations that are jointly administered by the television, advertising and food industries. This is a mix of government regulation and voluntary self-regulation. The regulatory system for food and drink marketing to children is complex and does not adequately protect them from the large amount of predatory food and drink marketing. Currently, the only legally enforceable statutory regulations around TV advertising to children are the Children’s Television Standards (Standards). The Standards are administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA); however the provisions apply only to advertisements that are screened immediately before, after and during programs rated for children and for pre-schoolers.  ACMA does not allow companies to advertise unhealthy food to children from 7am to 8.30am and 4pm to 8.30pm on Monday to Friday, or 7am to 8.30pm on weekends. The problem is that most children under 14 years of age watch TV shows that are not rated C (for children) and P (for pre-schoolers). This means that at the times of day when the largest number of children watch TV, the advertising that airs at those times is not regulated by the Standards. Codes of behaviour In addition to the Standards, there are various other codes governing advertising to children. These codes are self-regulatory in nature, and developed and administered by the television, food and advertising industries. The Cancer Council (NSW) has been trying to influence government since 2009 with no substantive changes and is now demanding government regulate food industry advertising. The Cancer Council (NSW) studied 1,733 food advertisements aired on commercial television between 6am and 9pm during a two week period in 2011. The study found that four out of ten foods that met the food companies’ definition of healthy failed the Food Safety Australia and New Zealand nutrient test. The Cancer Council (NSW) declared that these results “reaffirm that the current self-regulatory codes do not work.” Many food companies adhere to a voluntary system, the Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative, under which they determine their own nutrition criteria to decide which foods are appropriate to market to children.  Companies can set their criteria low enough to allow junk food to be advertised to children.  This could be said to be putting the fox in guard of the henhouse. Studies investigating self-regulation have shown self-regulatory codes are limited in scope and allow continued advertising of unhealthy foods at times when a large number of children are watching television. Mandatory regulations according to government standards would be much more effective at reducing the advertising of sugary and fatty foods than self-regulation. The common ground and major factor in preventing these general health and oral health issues is diet control. While individual responsibility and education definitely play a role in informing health diets, industry and marketers too should be required to fulfil their responsibilities. Better Protection To protect children from unhealthy food marketing, the Cancer Council has made seven policy recommendations to government to reform food marketing regulations. These recommendations involve developing a specific food marketing policy framework and implementing this via statutory regulation. Underpinning these recommendations is the public policy principle that children deserve to be protected from the potential harms of food marketing and parents deserve to raise their children in an environment that is conducive to the development of healthy eating practices. Despite all of the proven research, initiatives and hard work of these organisations there is still no adequate government regulation. Why invest in dental schemes to give children access to treatment if measures are not being taken to prevent the diseases from occurring in the first place? At the Commonwealth level, the Child Dental Benefits Scheme (CDBS) has to date seen considerable take-up. From January – June 2014, the CDBS has provided more than 1.9 million dental services to children at a cost of over $124 million. While the CDBS seeks to deliver dental care to needy children, it does not deliver as effectively as it could. For example, the CDBS range of preventive services does not include oral hygiene instruction and dietary advice, both of which play a critical role in prevention. This gap in the CDBS fails to see the opportunities identified by the former Health Workforce Australia’s comprehensive supply and demand study of the oral health workforce – ‘Health Workforce 2025 – Oral Health’. This yet to be published report states that there is an oversupply of the dental workforce that will continue until 2025. If the CDBS was extended to ensure full and comprehensive treatment, eligible children will be able to receive the complete care they need by a ready and already available dental workforce. Other than looking at improving Australians’ oral health through government schemes for dental services and measures that support the dental workforce, food marketing is another area of public policy where action must be taken. The Australian Dental Association (ADA)’s Policy Statement on Community Oral Health Promotion: Diet and Nutrition acknowledges the role of dietary carbohydrates in the causation of dental caries. The ADA’s Policy Statements can be found at http://www.ada.org.au/about/policies.aspx. Dietary carbohydrates impact on obesity, oral health and general health. This begs the question: when will government recognise and act to promote beneficial dietary behaviour? The Australian Dental Association is an organisation of dentists which aims for the encouragement of good public health and the promotion of the art and science of dentistry. [post_title] => Dentists bitten by food marketing [post_excerpt] => Bad diet and tooth decay. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => dentists-bitten-food-marketing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-01-09 12:15:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-01-09 01:15:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=17777 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 16812 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2014-10-23 21:03:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-10-23 10:03:20 [post_content] => Toothbrushes Dentists have sunk their teeth into the slow and frustrated progress of Australia’s attempt to build a national eHealth system, telling the federal government the scheme needs to be switched to an ‘opt-out’ model and have a name change if participation is to increase. A bulletin issued by the Australian Dental Association following consultations with the peak body over the future of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) says rather than calling the electronic document a “health record” it should be called a “health summary” to avoid mix-ups. “The term 'Record’ risks being confusing for health practitioners and patients alike, the bulletin said. “It is a summary and not a complete record and so the title “My Health Summary” is more appropriate.” Dentists also want more done to let people know about the benefits of eHealth which hasn’t exactly been an easy sell to date. The oral health industry also wants a bite of any new funding that may flow. “The Australian Government must provide adequate resources and incentives for all users including health practitioners (not just medical GPs) to be able to explain the benefits of this to patients and to allay concerns about privacy,” the ADA said. “Such work must be alongside a national information and educational campaign conducted by the Australian Government.” Other recommendations to the government include better support for “tertiary education and training institutions” to teach graduating health practitioners how to use the eHealth system so they can use it immediately upon entering the workforce. Similarly, dentists also want the government to “roll out other features such as ePrescriptions” and to use “Primary Health Networks” to “provide face to face training for health practitioners on how to use the MyHR and other aspects of eHealth.” Oral-Health, Australian-Dental-Association, PCEHR, AMA, Australian-Medical-Association, eHealth, NeHTA, Gonski, Peter-Dutton Dentists want opt-out eHealth record Review of PCEHR drilled over functionality, training Dentists have sunk their teeth into the slow and frustrated progress of Australia’s attempt to build a national eHealth system, telling the federal government the scheme needs to be switched to an ‘opt-out’ model and have a name change if participation is to increase. A bulletin issued by the Australian Dental Association following consultations with the peak body over the future of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) says rather than calling the electronic document a “health record” it should be called a “health summary” to avoid mix-ups. https://gallery.mailchimp.com/f48e3ab7541bf55cdb52793b6/files/ndu_october_2014.pdf “The term 'Record’ risks being confusing for health practitioners and patients alike, the bulletin said. “It is a summary and not a complete record and so the title “My Health Summary” is more appropriate.” Dentists also want more done to let people know about the benefits of eHealth which hasn’t exactly been an easy sell to date. The oral health industry also wants a bite of any new funding that may flow. “The Australian Government must provide adequate resources and incentives for all users including health practitioners (not just medical GPs) to be able to explain the benefits of this to patients and to allay concerns about privacy,” the ADA said. “Such work must be alongside a national information and educational campaign conducted by the Australian Government.” Other recommendations to the government include better support for “tertiary education and training institutions” to teach graduating health practitioners how to use the eHealth system so they can use it immediately upon entering the workforce. Similarly, dentists also want the government to “roll out other features such as ePrescriptions” and to use “Primary Health Networks” to “provide face to face training for health practitioners on how to use the MyHR and other aspects of eHealth.” [post_title] => Dentists want 'opt-out' eHealth record [post_excerpt] => Review of PCEHR drilled over functionality, training. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => dentists-want-opt-ehealth-record [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-10-23 22:08:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-10-23 11:08:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=16812 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 15830 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2014-07-31 22:44:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-07-31 12:44:09 [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 [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => official-check-australian-water-fluoridation [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-08-01 12:03:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-08-01 02:03:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=15830 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 24 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 7181 [post_author] => 655 [post_date] => 2013-09-05 16:46:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-09-05 16:46:22 [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.

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By Julian Bajkowski

Victorian councils have been urged to urgently sink their teeth into improving the dental health of their communities after the state’s lead oral health agency revealed it will soon be handing out individual profiles for local government areas.

Dental Health Services Victoria has said it will start distributing individual oral health profiles to 79 councils across the state from mid-July as part of a push to get local governments more involved in helping people take better care of their teeth.

The drive to get councils more proactively involved in oral health at a grass roots community level comes as the health sector tries to promote the kinds of behaviours that reduce tooth decay and gum disease that have been proven to lead to other illnesses.

Dental Health Services Victoria and the Department of Health have also issued a guide to local governments on how to improve oral health and prevent oral disease in the community.

Senior Project Officer at Dental Health Services Victoria, Dr Anil Raichur said the new profiles for councils provided an opportunity to understand health-related behaviours that influenced oral health in their communities.

“We included behaviours that have an impact on oral health such as tobacco use, intake of fruit and vegetables, soft drink consumption, tooth brushing frequency and breastfeeding,” Dr Raichur said.

A key avenue for the dentists to promote better oral health awareness are childcare and community facilities that are a more accessible and friendly way to get the message across than sitting in a dentist’s chair.

The innovative council profiles in Victoria are a stark contrast to the very public battle now raging in Queensland   where moves to let councils decide whether or not to fluoridate town water supplies have been slammed by dentists as stupid and ill-informed.

“The Queensland and now other State Governments’ decision to permit ill-informed local councils to choose to stop fluoridation of water supplies represent a failure to protect the public’s oral health. These local councils seem to be responding to fringe groups’ falsely based scare mongering and are not considering the scientifically well-established benefits of fluoridation,” Australian Dental Association Federal President Dr Karin Alexander said in February.

Charities are also pushing for dental reforms.

The Brotherhood of Saint Lawrence have warned that the direct and indirect costs to the economy of poor dental health sit between $1.3 billion and $2 billion annually.

The Brotherhood estimates that hospital admissions from dental conditions “are the largest category of preventable acute hospital admissions, costing the health system $223 million each year.”

“At least one million work days and at least 600,000 school days are lost each year because of poor dental health costing the economy at least $660 million in lost productivity,” The Brotherhood said in its landmark report: End the Decay: The cost of poor dental health and what should be done about it.

The chief executive CEO of Dental Health Services Victoria, Dr Deborah Cole, said the oral health profiles for would support councils preparing for their Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plans.

“These profiles contain vital information that will assist councils in oral health promotion efforts in their communities,” Dr Cole said.

[post_title] => Dentists drill Victorian councils on decay [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => dentists-drill-victorian-councils-on-decay [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-02-21 11:01:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-02-21 00:01:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 6 [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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oral-health

oral-health

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 […]

Dentists drill Victorian councils on decay

By Julian Bajkowski Victorian councils have been urged to urgently sink their teeth into improving the dental health of their communities after the state’s lead oral health agency revealed it will soon be handing out individual profiles for local government areas. Dental Health Services Victoria has said it will start distributing individual oral health profiles […]