Ensure your child has a healthy smile on their dial in 2023

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SCHHS Oral Health Therapist Liko Kotera

With children now back in the classroom, the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS) is encouraging parents to make use the free dental care available for eligible students in prep through to grade 10.

SCHHS Oral Health Therapist Liko Kotera said prevention is better than treating a problem, and the dental vans and school clinics make this convenient for busy families.

“Dental is very important because it is the first entry of our body is the mouth. A lot of parents think just because they’re baby teeth they don’t need to look after them, they’ll get a new set of adult teeth, but they actually have an important role in keeping the space for the adult teeth and obviously you don’t want to lose baby teeth early as it can affect the way they eat,” she said.

Getting children comfortable with getting their teeth checked will help set up positive life-long habits.

“Especially at the school sites we do try make the dental vans children friendly, but they look at the van from the outside and go ‘oh what is this big place’, and sometimes the dental clinics can be a bit daunting so we do see a lot of children hesitant to get their check-up but I think once they come in they realise how fun it can be and how important it is to brush their teeth,” Ms Kotera said.

Oral health therapists will take a good look at the child’s teeth and gums, assess how adult teeth are developing and advise if there are any tricky spots the toothbrush might be missing.

Ms Kotera also said for children aged up to eight parents should be helping with brushing at home, and for older children if recommended by a health professional.

“Although going back to school can be hectic, it’s very important parents assist with brushing at least twice a day as well as floss at night-time. Depending on the age it’s important parents do help, and use a fluoridated toothpaste and an appropriate size toothbrush,” she said.

There are 14 dental vans that service students from Gympie to Caloundra, as well as three on-site school facilities at Nambour, Caloundra and Maroochydore.

Your child’s school will notify you when the dental van is due to visit and will provide the forms required. Enter your suburb here to check eligibility and book a clinic.