Health

Free dental checks for young children under a re-elected McGowan Labor Government

Posted on February 23, 2021
  • A re-elected McGowan Labor Government will invest in the future dental care of young Western Australians with an $11.5 million investment over four years
  • Program will give every child living in WA free dental assessments from six months of age to 5 years
  • Commitment will help keep Western Australian kids’ teeth strong and healthy

A re-elected McGowan Labor Government will invest $11.5 million into dental health services for children aged six months through to five years, as part of a push to prevent future hospital presentations and to promote oral health.

Children five years and over are already eligible for free dental treatment through the School Dental Service.

The program will be delivered in a child-friendly environment and will focus on prevention and promotion. Those who need dental care will be referred to the School Dental Service for treatment.

Under the program, the first two dental checks will take place in a community setting, with the third and fourth dental check taking place through the School Dental Service.

For Western Australian children aged four and under, dental conditions are the second highest reason for preventable hospital presentations, costing an estimated $4.7 million to public health services annually. Too often their dental health is overlooked until it reaches crisis point, resulting in emergency presentations and hospital admissions.

It is hoped that the program will make it easier and more affordable for families to access dental services for their children.

Expanding dental services for children 0-4 years was a recommendation arising from the Final Report of the Sustainable Health Review.

This builds upon the $10.5 million re-election commitment to double the capacity of the public Albany Dental Clinic.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

“The public health care system, particularly in WA, takes really good care of little teeth.

“But these programs are not always accessible or available to everyone.

“Under a re-elected WA Labor Government, every child residing in WA will have access to a free, child-friendly and community-based dental assessment and oral health promotion from six months of age, setting them up for good dental health for the rest of their life.”