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The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) has been on a roller-coaster for the last two months. The ride started in 23 April with the Government announcement of its closure on 30 June, 2016. The announcement caused a media outcry from Australian dental organizations, the Labour party and the greater community. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) condemned the closure, as well as the new dental program that will replace it – the Child and Adult Public Dental Program (CAPDS). Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten strongly objected to the new policy by stating, “This is the equivalent of cutting Medicare and flooding the emergency wards of Australian hospitals with more patients.” He went on, “The idea that you improve the dental health of children by cutting $1 billion and making all the children of Australia have to go through public waiting lists to get dental care support from the government is a dental care hoax.”

By late April, news of the closure hit home. Thousands of families across Australia, with an outstanding balance on each of their children’s $1000 benefit cap, started booking dental appointments before 30 June, 2016. They were also saying good bye to their personal family dentists and rejoining the long public dental waiting lists to see a random dentist. But an unusual thing happened in the final sitting session in Parliament before the double-dissolution federal election on 2 July. The new legislation was not passed leaving both dental schemes in limbo, as the Government went into caretaker mode.

However, by delaying the implementation of the new CAPDS and leaving the CDBS open, until after the Federal election, the Liberal Party did avoid a possible voter backlash on the hot topic. So, the Department of Health has kept the CDBS open with no specific closure date. And if Bill Shorten becomes Prime Minister, the CBDS will stay open for the Aussie kids that need it the most. The ADA is appealing to the Australian public to support an online petition to save the CDBS – the best public dental program to service the diverse needs of children in Australian communities today. To view, support and sign their online petition, please click the following link:

The oral and gut microbiota work together to keep us healthy

Even though the oral and gut microbiotas appear to be separate entities, they work synergistically to nourish our body and protect it from infection and disease. So it’s important to keep in mind that you can’t effectively improve one microbiota without improving the other as well. For example, you might take a daily gut probiotic supplement – but what about the billions of oral pathogens you swallow every day that make it through the stomach acid barrier and colonise the gut? So, what are the most beneficial ways to give your probiotic oral bacteria a huge boost?

Tips to improve your probiotic oral bacteria and more

You can nurture your probiotic oral bacteria, optimise your oral PH and improve your oral health with the following foods and oral care/lifestyle habits:

  • Eat, chew or drink (with pulp) nitrate-rich high fibre vegetables to maintain and improve the oral microbiome including celery, beetroot, rocket, chard, rhubarb, fennel and oak leaf lettuce.
  • Eat, chew or drink (with pulp) prebiotic high fibre foods that help feed probiotic oral bacteria, including nuts, fruits and seeds.
  • Chew more fibre to create an “oral garden mulch” to feed probiotic bacteria.
  • Use your toothbrush, flosser and tongue scraper to manually remove bacterial plaque – helps keep bacterial numbers between species balanced and in check.
  • Avoid excessive use of anti-microbial mouthwashes since they can harm the oral microbiome, taking out good and bad bacteria. Use mouthwashes with prebiotics that target specific bacteria.
  • Avoid alcohol. Binge drinking can completely disrupt the diversity of your oral microbiome and enable harmful bacteria to flourish.
  • Avoid smoking which can disrupt saliva flow and dry out the oral cavity.