Fluoride Action Network

Queensland children as young as two undergoing surgery for tooth decay

Source: The Courier-Mail | July 12th, 2014 | By Laura Chalmers
Location: Australia

HUNDREDS of Queensland children, some as young as two, are requiring surgery in hospital to fix decaying teeth.

Queensland’s chief dental officer Dr Rhys Thomas had his final day yesterday, and said while there were many achievements of which he was proud, the high number of young children with tooth decay and requiring extractions was a major concern.

He said poor diets, including sugary soft drinks and juices, were causing young teeth to decay, and warned parents they should only be giving young kids water or milk.

“There is an unacceptably high level by hospitalisation for young people – most hospital and health services are seeing children aged 2 onwards having their teeth treated,” Dr Thomas said.

He was proud of helping to reduce public dental waiting lists during his five years in the role – the long-wait list has been reduced to zero – as well as his work on the Queensland Child Oral Health Survey and the electronic oral health record.

However he said he wanted to see earlier interventions for mothers and children to stop bad habits “because we don’t want to do more fillings on small kids’’.

He said statistics showed more than 4000 young children (aged up to nine) were admitted to hospital for tooth decay in 2010-11, and there was an “unacceptably high’’ rate of extractions.

Deception Bay’s Jay Rogers said her son John, 3, had tooth decay as a result of a love of cordial.

“He doesn’t generally like junk food, he likes fruit and veg, but he was a bit of a cordial addict,’’ she said.

“Now he’s on water, but when I took him to the dentist they quoted me $6000 for treatment because of anaesthetic costs.”