“WA continues to see children aged 0-4 years presenting to emergency departments for dental reasons and high numbers of dental hospitalisations,” Dr Gino Cirillo, manager, Community Dental Services – Dental Health Services, said.
“Children aged 0-4 do not visit a dental practitioner regularly for preventative dental care, with only one in five children seen by a dental practitioner in WA by the recommended age of two.
“By the time children are aged between five and six years, almost one-third have experienced dental caries,” Dr Crillo added.
It is recommended that visits to the dentist should begin by a child’s first birthday, or when the first teeth erupt. Yet some parents still consider that the primary teeth are not important because they fall out and are replaced by permanent teeth.
However, besides their obvious importance for eating, appearance and speech, healthy primary teeth are also essential for guiding permanent teeth, which develop underneath them, into their correct positions.
The primary molars, usually the last of the primary teeth to fall out, are normally not replaced by their permanent successors until about age 12 years.