A child dental service offered by the Western NSW Local Health District in Oberon has seen its first patient since moving premises.
The clinic which has operated since 2007, recently moved from council-owned rooms to the Oberon Multipurpose Service (MPS) and received a $44,000 boost to the service as part of the relocation.
Jenny James, the Dental Therapist who visits from Bathurst to run the service in Oberon said she was excited to see the first child treated at the new dental clinic using the new equipment.
“We are so pleased to be treating local children in this new clinic space using brand new equipment including a new dental x-ray machine, dental chair and dental operating units," Jenny said.
“The location where the dental service was previously operating from was quite old and the new location and equipment is a great boost to dental services in Oberon and the region."
“By offering the clinic at the MPS, we also open better opportunities for dental staff to work with local community health staff at the MPS who also provide services to local children."
“There are many families in Oberon who rely on this dental service and the new clinic will be a great environment for children and for the staff providing the services," Jenny said.
The dental clinic will help the local community tackle oral health issues such as tooth decay, a problem often seen in children in Oberon. Jenny said in her 40 years of experience treating children in both Bathurst and Oberon that she notices a remarkable difference between the teeth of children in the two towns.
“Unfortunately I see twice as much tooth decay in children in Oberon compared to children in Bathurst," Jenny said.
“It is a shame that children in Oberon need twice as many fillings and twice as many tooth extractions compared to children in Bathurst where fluoride has been in the town water since the early 1970s."
“For me it is a clear case of seeing first-hand the health impacts of not fluoridating the local water supply in Oberon. It is an issue affecting our future generations."
Associate Professor Tony Brown, a public health physician who has worked in the Central West for more than 15 years said fluoride added to drinking water in Australia has been proven to be a highly effective way to protect against tooth decay in children.
“Tooth decay is one of the most common preventable health issues in Australia," Dr Brown said.
“Exposing children's teeth to fluoride regularly can help protect against tooth decay and can help with the repair of teeth."
“All drinking water supplies contain some level of fluoride naturally, however most do not have enough to provide adequate protection against tooth decay and repair. Adding fluoride adjusts the level to one for which there is clear evidence of long term health benefits to children."
The Oberon MPS is encouraging all local families to make an appointment for their children to get a dental check-up by phoning 1300 552 626.
There are a number of things we can all do to look after our teeth and gums:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, especially before bed
- Enjoy a variety of healthy foods
- Avoid snacking on sugary and sticky foods and drinks, especially between meals
- Drinks lots of tap water, with added fluoride where available