Oral hygiene across the Territory and Australia could be better, according to local dentist Drew Chea.
And despite the NT's free public dental care available to all children up to 18 years old, too many are missing out on the benefits of a regular check-up.
"Children should be coming in every six to 12 months for a check up, adults as well," manager of the Katherine Dental Clinic Mr Chea said.
On a daily basis, dentists at the Katherine clinic see up to 10 children - all accessing the free service.
And decay and cavities are a common occurrence.
"There are foods that propagate cavities and decay, but it mostly comes down to brushing and flossing," Mr Chea said.
"We try to encourage dental hygiene. We teach children about diet or I will actually show them how to properly brush their teeth.
"These things build knowledge and habit.
"Engagement is very important and the best time to get the message across is when children are young."
According to the Australian Dental Association tooth decay from sugary drinks is increasingly affecting young children.
The organisation has backed a new campaign called "Rethink Sugary Drink" and is urging Australians to cut back on sugary drinks or remove them entirely from our diet.
It is going as far as recommending state and territory governments introduce mandatory restrictions in schools, government institutions and children’s sports and events.
The NT has the second highest rate of tooth decay in young children and by raising awareness of our free paediatric dental services and encouraging parents to book in for a check-up today, we hope to decrease these statisticsMinister for Health, Natasha Fyles
According to the campaign, "many young males aged 12–24 are hooked on sugary drinks with some consume a whopping 1.5 litres of soft drinks, sports drinks or energy drinks a day."
Katherine's local dentist Mr Chea said reducing instances of decay comes down to education rather than regulation.
"We need to promote the importance of health. It comes down to education and everything in moderation," he said.
The NT's free dental care for Territory school children is delivered through school-based clinics, community clinics and remote health centres.
Dental therapists and oral health therapists can provide dental checks, treatment and advice on a range of issues including pain and trauma management, emergency care, fillings, repairs and oral hygiene.
“The NT has the second highest rate of tooth decay in young children and by raising awareness of our free paediatric dental services and encouraging parents to book in for a check-up today, we hope to decrease these statistics," Minister for Health, Natasha Fyles said.
“NT Oral Health Service provides an outreach program to remote NT communities to ensure that remote communities can also access these dental services.”
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