Children in Northern NSW communities now have better access to preventive dental care and treatment, thanks to a mobile dental van operating in the region.
‘The schools involved in this program are in regional and remote communities, so by bringing this service to them we’re removing the barriers to accessing dental services,’ said Minister for Regional Health, Ryan Park.
‘We know dental healthcare is critical to children’s physical development and wellbeing, and we know regular dental check-ups are linked to better outcomes in childhood.’
The service is an extension of the NSW Health Primary School Mobile Dental Program, with Northern NSW Local Health District Oral Health Service running a pilot program to visit several local primary schools throughout 2023.
Dr Angie Nilsson, Clinical Director Oral Health Services, said primary school children are at an important point in their dental journey as their adult teeth start to come through.
‘We’re helping kids set good oral health practices for life and ensuring they get the best start for healthy teeth and gums. It can take more than two hours for some of our communities to travel to access the public dental service, and in areas with limited public transport options, it’s even more of a challenge.’
The services will include check-ups, cleans, x-rays and other preventive treatments and will help to set children on a path to good dental health for life.
MP for Lismore. Janelle Saffin said,’ Children in Bonalbo have already benefited from the service, and it is great to know the mobile clinic is planned to visit students in Urbenville, Tabulam and Kyogle.’
Bonalbo Central School was the first school to host the dental van, with close to 100 percent of the primary school children receiving check-ups.
Bonalbo Central School Relieving Assistant Principal, Kim James, said, ‘Students from kindergarten to Year 6 had dental check-ups and minor dental work done, which was fantastic.’