Central Coast parents still suffering from COVID-19’s financial effects are being urged to check their eligibility for a scheme which could help safeguard their children’s oral health.
“Latest Federal Government data shows that hundreds of thousands of children are missing out on the Child Dental Benefits Scheme (CDBS), which offers Medicare funded dental treatment for children aged 2-17,” said Australian Dental Association NSW (ADA NSW) President, Dr Kathleen Matthews.
“Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed that during the first six months of COVID-19, payroll jobs on the Central Coast fell by about 2 per cent.
If COVID-19 has affected the family finances, then paying for children’s dental visits may be more difficult, so for eligible families, the CDBS could be vital.
“There were more than 7,000 potentially preventable hospitalisations for children aged 0-14 in NSW during 2018-19, showing what can happen if you neglect your oral health.
“ADA NSW encourages all parents to check their eligibility via the Services Australia website for the CDBS,” Dr Matthews said.
The CDBS provides $1,000 of Medicare funded treatment over a two-year calendar period.
Check-ups, x-rays, cleaning, fissure sealants, fillings, root canals and extractions are among the services provided.
Children whose parents hold a Health Care Card or who receive an eligible Centrelink payment such as Family Tax Benefit A may be eligible for the CDBS.
Latest data ahead of the recent Federal Budget has shown that only 39 per cent of eligible Australian children accessed the CDBS during 2019-20, with a Department of Health report last year finding the scheme needed big changes to improve utilisation rates.
“The CDBS is a wonderful scheme, but too few Australian parents know about it,” Dr Matthews said.
“Many don’t understand their notification letters or simply aren’t aware the scheme exists.
“Good health starts with what you put in your mouth.
“Poor oral health can not only ruin your teeth, but lead to various other chronic and life threatening conditions, as well as unnecessary pain, suffering and potentially expensive treatment.
“With last year’s Grattan Institute report finding that two million Australians forego going to the dentist every year due to cost, ensuring affordable and accessible dental treatment for Australians must be made a priority by the Federal Government.”
Press release, Nov 23
ADA NSW Media