Whenever I see underprivileged children begging for money or food on the streets, I can’t help but wonder how it feels to be in their position. How do they live without eating at least twice a day? How can their parents take care of their little ones to make sure that they are healthy and happy? I know it is hard for them to live, so just the thought of these little kids needing to visit a gum doctor in Sydney for a dental problem is just heartbreaking. Let us find out how the government helps in providing necessary dental and medical care to these poor children.
The government’s stand
The Australian Department of Health gives importance to good oral health and has started an advocacy to encourage parents and children to promote oral hygiene. The government believes that families who are finding it difficult to access dental health and are neglecting their oral hygiene can result in dental problems like infection and pain that would further make things difficult for them. They are now providing programs that would help poor families to have easy access to dental health programs of the government
Dental health services in Australia
Unfortunately, it is known that in Australia, dental health is not really prioritized as much as the medical needs of its people. Even insurance companies focus on giving coverage mainly to medical issues and conditions, leaving dental insurance as an extras cover, where you need to either pay more or upgrade your insurance. It has been found out that even though 33% of Australians are entitled to public dental services that are promoted by the government, they only have the capacity to provide services for merely 20% of those qualified.
Dental services for underprivileged children
In Australia, most dental care services are provided by private sectors (clinics, dental offices, hospitals) that should be paid out of their own pockets. This is why poor families set aside and neglect their dental health, thinking that they cannot afford such fees. Because of this, research showed that almost all (a whopping 90%) adult Australians have experienced tooth decay, and half of the children’s population have poor dental hygiene.
ADA: Greater attention for dental health
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) is now advocating the government to do something about this. They are encouraging the Department of Health to strengthen their dental services and offer dental programs that would benefit all Australians, especially the poor. ADA wants the government to face the fact that almost everyone in the country has plaque and cavities but overlooks their dental health because they cannot afford treatments and procedures. They also strive to allow dental care services be readily covered by Medicare, which is currently focusing on providing coverage for the country’s medical needs. Allowing Medicare to provide coverage for common dental procedures will make it easier for underprivileged children and their families to access public dental health services.