Posted September 17, 2019 06:05:00In the mid-1990s, a toothbrush was one of the first devices to be invented.
I was 12 years old.
A colleague asked me to get my own toothbrush and for the first time I understood the value of a toothpaste.
It was a huge decision.
When I got home, I was still scared about being toothless and I did not want to be the one that was left with a denture or a gingivitis infection.
In 1995, I went to my dentist for a first-time procedure.
He told me that my teeth were still not properly aligned.
After I had my teeth pulled out, he put a new toothbrush in my mouth and told me it was time to have my teeth extracted.
That is when my whole life changed.
At that point, I realised that my family did not understand my problems.
For the first year, I did everything that I could to get dental work done.
My dentist gave me advice on how to look after my teeth.
And, despite my fear of getting toothless, I had no choice.
Because my family could not afford it, I gave up on a dentist.
But that is not the case for all of us.
In the 1990s, the Dentistry Education Act (DSEA) made it easier for young people to access dental services.
By 2020, we had achieved a target of getting one million dental students enrolled in dental education.
So, what did we learn from all of this?
First, the DSEA has been successful.
As of 2020, over 12 million children have received dental education, while over 40 million adults have obtained dental work.
Second, the success of the DEA has helped many families get ahead of their dental costs.
The average dental bill for a child under the age of five is around $1,800, while a child between the ages of six and 18 will cost between $3,000 and $5,000.
In some cases, that could amount to tens of thousands of dollars.
It has also helped us to recognise that our dental work is not a cost that we should have to pay, and that we need to be more proactive about paying for our dental care.
Third, our efforts have helped us understand that the work that we do can be a major lifeline for our families.
We have started to see our dental bills rise, and we have started paying for dental care more than we ever have before.
These are important lessons for all dental parents.
The DSEA is a positive step towards helping our families save money on their dental care, while we are more aware of the cost of dental care and can take action to prevent or reduce it.
Our work on behalf of young people is important to us.
We want to take this opportunity to congratulate our colleagues on their achievements in dental work and encourage them to continue their work.
As well as being a strong voice for dental education in Australia, the University of New South Wales is also proud to partner with our partners, the Australian Institute of Dental Education and Training (AIDET), the Australian Dental Association, and the Dentists Association of Australia.