Identifying decay

A simple ‘Lift the Lip’ screening and referral tool is available to identify children (from birth to five years) with early signs of tooth decay.

Who can use the tool to refer children for priority dental care?

  • Child and Family Health Service nurses
  • general practitioners (GP)
  • practice nurses
  • Aboriginal health workers
  • early childhood professionals
  • other health professionals.

This type of tooth decay (Early Childhood Caries) is easy to identify as it usually starts in the outer surface of the top front teeth.

Screening for tooth decay involves simply lifting the child’s top lip to check the outer surfaces of the top front teeth.White chalky lines on the teeth, near the gum line can be the beginning of tooth decay.

Evidence shows that if identified early, preventive measures (such as the application of fluoride) can prevent the progress of decay.