BRING out your teeth!

Tasmanians have some of the worst teeth in Australia – with a tooth being pulled once every three minutes.

Yesterday, the Federal Government urged Tasmanian parents to get their kids to the dentist quick smart.

This year Medicare Australia sent out 38,100 vouchers to Tasmanians, each valued at $153.45 for teenagers to get a preventative dental health check-up.

Families will get a voucher each calendar year and this year’s vouchers are valid until December 31.

To be eligible, a teenager must be entitled to receive Medicare benefits and be aged 12 to 17 years.

The voucher covers one annual preventative check consisting of an oral examination, a scale and clean, fluoride treatment, oral hygiene instruction, dietary advice and or fissure seal.

“Teenagers need to present their voucher when they have this check,” Medicare Australia’s Mark Jackson said. According to the Australian Health and Medical Research Council:

• 11.2 per cent of Tasmanians aged 25 to 44 wear dentures, almost double the national average.

• A tooth is extracted every three minutes in public dental services around Australia.

• Tasmania has the highest percentage of people wearing a denture in the nation.

• The rate of 23.1 per cent is 4.6 per cent higher than national average of 18.5 per cent.

• In all the age categories from 25 to 65-plus, Tasmania is significantly above the national average.

• 41 per cent of Tasmanians in the 45 to 64-year-old category have dentures, which is 12 per cent above the national average.

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Fluoridation has a long and proud track record in Tasmania, with Beaconsfield in 1953 becoming the first fluoridated public drinking water supply in Australia. At present around 83% of our population receives fluoridated drinking water, which is a relatively high proportion given the decentralised nature of the State.

– In 1968 when the Fluoridation Act was passed, the Rivers and Waters Commission provided the service delivery aspects of fluoridation, under the ongoing strategic governance of the Fluoridation Committee established under the Act…