More than half of 6-year-olds in Australia are experiencing tooth decay, according to new research.
According to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), the average 6 year old child has just over two teeth affected by decay.
This number jumps to eight teeth amongst the 10 per cent of children this age with the most extensive history of the oral disease in their deciduous (baby) teeth.
Entitled The Child Dental Health Surveys Australia 2005 and 2006, the report presents information on the oral health those attending a school dental service.
Queensland and the Northern Territory had the highest levels of decay for baby teeth, while Western Australia and the ACT reported the lowest.
Good oral health is essential to Australians of all ages and adults may find the health service more accessible through private health insurance.
In 2010, private health insurers paid $1.6 billion of the $3.3 billion charged for dental services, with dental benefits accounting for more than any other type of general treatment.
Some private health policies can help to cover the costs of an examination, including diagnostic oral examinations and consultations, as well as preventive measures such as the removal of plaque.