Get the check and keep your smile for life

Take action: Flossing helps clean in between the teeth, reducing the occurrence of halitosis, gum disease and cavities.
Take action: Flossing helps clean in between the teeth, reducing the occurrence of halitosis, gum disease and cavities.

Thousands of Australian families could be missing out on free dental work they're entitled to, giving more reason to visit their local dentist.

The Child Dental Benefits Schedule uptake has gradually increased since its 2013 induction, but some families are still not yet aware of the scheme.

"Qualifying families - those with children aged two to 18 who are receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A or a relevant Australian government payment - are entitled to $1013 dental work in every two year period under the Schedule," said Australian Dental Association's (ADA) deputy CEO Eithne Irving.

"The government needs to do a lot more to publicise this Schedule so eligible families can get the treatment they may have thought they could not afford," she said.

She encourages families to book their dental appointments for teeth check and treatment where necessary.

If you're eligible, the cost of the work may be covered by the schedule.

Families can check their child's eligibility and CDBS balance through their Medicare online account at MyGov or by calling 132 011.

Here are some tips for encouraging a lifelong smile:

Brush often

Saliva plays a pivotal role in flushing the oral environment but when we are asleep, our salivary glands produce very little saliva.

  • Use a small soft brush and one pea-sized blob of fluoride-toothpaste
  • Tilt your brush at 45 degrees to clean gums.
  • Brush in circles gently.
  • If using an electric toothbrush hold the brush still for three seconds on each tooth.
  • Brush inside and outside on all chewing surfaces. Then upper and lower teeth. Don't miss inside front teeth.
  • Brush tongue to get rid of bacteria.

Floss regularly

It is important to floss every night to ensure that food or debris in between the teeth is removed before going to bed.

Flossing helps clean in between the teeth, where toothbrush bristles cannot get access to and will help minimize the occurrence of halitosis, gum disease and cavities.

Nutritious diet low in sugar

Frequent consumption of bottled fruit juices, soft drinks, energy drinks and snacking on foods with hidden sugars like biscuits, crackers, cereals, chips and even dried fruit can cause acid attacks on your teeth.

Visit your dentist regularly

Regular dental check-ups and x-rays will reveal issues that can be easily fixed before they turn into something more serious and painful and will also help maintain gum health and keep gum disease at bay.