Public dental health key to good health

Released on 15th June 2016

cohealth was today delighted to host a visit from Green’s leader Senator Richard di Natale, with the launch of the Green’s dental care policy at our Kensington clinic helping to highlight the critical role that public dental services play in providing affordable dental care.

cohealth’s team of dentists, dental nurses, dental and oral health therapists and educators currently deliver dental health education and treatment services to more than 20,000 people every year across the northern and western suburbs of Melbourne. Around half of these clients are children.

“Half of the children we see have experienced dental decay and one in four present with active untreated decay. Given that the effects of childhood dental health and habits extend well into adulthood, and that dental disease is preventable, funded universal access to dental care for children is necessary if we are to see generational change. An ongoing funding commitment that extends access for children is welcome,” said Acting Chief Executive Nicole Bartholomeusz.

Children eligible to use cohealth services include all children aged 0-12 years, and young people aged 13-17 years from families who are Healthcare or pensioner concession card holders. Funding for public dental services is provided by both the State and Commonwealth with around a third of children receiving care through the federally funded Child Dental Benefit Scheme.

“It is especially pleasing that children are currently able to access public dental health services without the need to go on a waiting list,” added Ms Bartholomeusz.

“While there are waiting times for adult dental care, increased funding by the State and Commonwealth has enabled us to provide care to 1,200 more people this year. Ongoing funding is welcomed. At cohealth we provide high quality and appropriate care for people who often to struggle to access mainstream services such as refugees and asylum seekers, people who are homeless, those suffering mental illness and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” continued Ms Batholomeusz.

People in these priority groups have their dental needs assessed and are offered the next available appointment.

Ms Bartholomeusz added, “As one of the largest providers of public dental services in Victoria, cohealth supports all initiatives which increase access to public dental services, particularly for children. It is our view that a public dental system with joint commonwealth and state funding which provides timely access to care and has a strong focus on prevention is required if we are to improve the oral health of future generations.”

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