Thursday, 19 December 2019

Students in the Latrobe Valley will have brighter and healthier smiles when the Smile Squad free dental program is rolled out to more schools in term one next year.

Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing MP today announced the Smile Squad – Victoria’s new fleet of school dental vans – will provide free examinations and treatment at local public primary and secondary schools.

From Term 1 next year, the vans will start visiting schools around the Latrobe Valley local government area.

They will join schools in Box Hill, Barwon South, Cranbourne and Wodonga who have already been visited as part of the free dental program.

In 2020, the fleet is expected to visit more than 150 schools and provide treatment to more than 50,000 students. More schools and locations will be announced in 2020.

Oral disease is one of the most common and expensive diseases to treat, but it’s also one of the the most preventable. Across Australia, a quarter of all children have untreated tooth decay; and in Victoria, dental conditions are the highest single cause of preventable hospitalisations for kids under 10.

The Smile Squad vans will provide free check-ups and treatment including teeth cleaning, fluoride application, fillings, root canals and any other non-cosmetic treatments to make sure our kids have healthy teeth.

All Victorian public primary and secondary school students will receive their own free dental packs, complete with a toothbrush, and lots of education about the benefits of a healthy, bright smile.

The Labor Government’s landmark free dental care program will drive down big dental costs for families, with bills expected to be slashed by $400 each year for each kid. It’s also estimated to free up 100,000 places for adults in the public dental system each year, reducing wait times.

Once fully rolled out in 2022, the program will provide check-ups and dental treatment for about 650,000 public school kids every year.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing MP  

“We’re making sure students in the Latrobe Valley have a bright and healthy smile while helping hard-working families save on costly dental bills.”

“Our kids and teenagers deserve the best start in life, and good oral health is important to lay the foundations for good lifelong health and wellbeing. I’m excited to see that our local students will be amongst the first to benefit from a free dental visit.”