Melbourne: Tens of thousands more Victorian school students will enjoy brighter smiles this year as the next phase of the Andrews Labor Government’s landmark Smile Squad free dental program gets underway.
Acting Premier James Merlino joined Minster for Health Jenny Mikakos on Tuesday to announce a further 146 new primary and secondary schools will be invited to join the Smile Squad program this year.
This means families in Campaspe, East Gippsland, Macedon Ranges, Maribyrnong, Melton, Wangaratta and parts of Casey and Hume are next on the list to receive free dental care and save hundreds of dollars every year.
The Smile Squad vans are visiting schools in Brimbank, Buloke, Greater Bendigo, Hepburn, Latrobe, Mansfield, and Towong from term 1 – joining schools in South Barwon, Box Hill, Cranbourne and Wodonga that received a visit last year.
That means this year we’re inviting more than 300 schools to participate and offer free dental treatment to more than 100,000 additional Victorian students.
A quarter of children across Australia 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 provide free check-ups and treatment to all students in Victorian public schools, including teeth cleaning, fluoride application, fissure sealants, fillings, root canals and any other non-cosmetic treatments to ensure our kids have healthy teeth.
The Labor Government’s $321.9 million free dental care program started six months ahead of schedule in August last year – saving families time and money.
Once fully rolled out in 2022, the program will provide check-ups and dental treatment to more than 650,000 public school kids every year.
More information about the program can be found at smilesquad.vic.gov.au