The prettiest thing you can wear is a smile . As a mother of five I understand the many struggles that parents face both physically , emotionally and financially with providing the best possible dental hygiene habits and healthcare.
The struggle to get a toddler to open their mouth so you can help brush their teeth , the 12 year old who insist for the 5th time that they have brushed their teeth while smiling at you with food still stuck in their teeth. Oh and the joys of the tooth fairy visits that were a day late because the tooth fairy must have been very busy last night or “they must be saving your teeth till last because you have looked after them so well”.
Not to also mention the fact that we could have gone on an around the world trip twice with the money we have spent on orthodontist and dentist bills.
As a parent I have struggled with the limited advice available regarding how best to support my children’s dental health.
Sally from Health Insurance Comparison is our guest on the blog this week answering some important questions on how to support your children’s dental Heath.
Dental Health for Children
We only get one set of real teeth so it’s crucial to be looking after your child’s dental health from an early age.
When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?
Regular teeth brushing is essential from a young age to set your child on the right path for their oral health. Ideally, you should look to start brushing your child’s teeth from babyhood, after the first milk teeth come through. This could happen anytime from around the 6 month mark but can sometimes happen sooner.
While your child is still young, you’ll need to do the brushing for them. Make a point of showing them what is involved via the mirror to prepare them for being able to clean their teeth by themselves.
From around the age of 7, children should be fine to start brushing their own teeth. However, it is still wise to supervise them to make sure that they are not missing areas and that they don’t swallow any toothpaste.
As they get older, you can also teach your child how to floss between their teeth to get rid of plaque and bacteria that is not tackled by brushing alone. If this is too awkward due to the alignment and spacing of their teeth, interdental brushes can also be used to clean between teeth.
What age should my child be when they first visit the dentist?
Your child’s first visit to the dentist should happen soon after their first milk teeth comes through. Getting them used to going to the dentist from an early age can make them less concerned when they need to have dental treatment as they get older. It can also help to keep tabs on decay and any dental problems that may become more of an issue if your child doesn’t start seeing a dentist until they are older.
Preventing tooth decay
Sugary snacks, fizzy drinks and fruit juice can all contribute to tooth decay so it’s advisable to only allow your child to eat and drink these in moderation. Water and milk are better alternatives.
What age is the best age to commence orthodontic treatment and why are braces important to my child’s dental health ?
Some children will need to have orthodontic treatment to correct misalignments with the jaw and/or teeth as they get older. This can help to straighten crooked teeth, close gaps between teeth and correct ‘bite’ so that the top and bottom jaws meet properly. Depending on the arrangement of your child’s teeth, this could enable them to take care of their oral health more easily by correcting problems that otherwise make it difficult to keep the teeth and gums clean and healthy.
Braces can be fixed or removable. Some are highly visible but there is also the option to have a more discreet type, although this is more expensive.
Orthodontic treatment is usually down around the age of 12 or 13. After this point, it is more difficult (but by no means impossible!) to correct teeth and jaw problems.
The Financial Side of Things
Medicare provides a bit of support for your child’s dental . The Child Dental Benefits Scheme (CDBS) offers up to $1,000 towards the cost of some dental care services for children aged 2-17. To be eligible, you need to be in receipt of certain Government payments for a minimum of 1 day of the calendar year, such as Family Tax Benefit Part A. The CDBS is capped at this amount over 2 consecutive calendar years.
Beyond this, Medicare will only cover dental treatment in ‘exceptional’ circumstances.
Because Medicare won’t offer a huge amount of help for the average family, you may choose to buy Extras health insurance to help with the costs of your child’s dental care. This can be particularly valuable if anyone in the family needs to have more extensive dental treatment and/or if your child needs to have braces as they near their teens.
Extras with General Dental services will cover preventative dental treatments such as examinations, scale and polish and x-rays and it may also include fillings, simple extractions and wisdom teeth removal (depending on the health fund). More complex dental work such as root canal work, treatment for periodontal/gum disease, crowns and bridges and implants will require Extras cover with Major Dental services. Orthodontic treatment will sometimes be covered on Major Dental but will usually require Extras cover with Orthodontics services.
Be aware that annual limits will apply to Extras cover, and this can be on the low side for the more basic Extras policies. This can have a big impact on the level of dental services that will be covered on your policy and could lead to out-of-pocket costs if you need to go beyond the annual limit on your policy and your health fund is not one of those that offers no-gap dental cover.
Want to find a fairly priced policy with comprehensive dental coverage for your kids? Check out healthinsurancecomparison.com.au and start comparing policies today!
Note : No money was received for this guest post.