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News / September 24, 2010

Mother prosecuted for tooth neglect

by Guy Hiscott

A mother in Ipswich, Australia, has received a 12-month suspended sentence for failing to take her child to the dentist.

The child, aged nine, had 12 teeth removed once she was taken into protective custody.

She first came to the attention of a dental worker at the age of six during a school check, and at that time the mother was advised to take her daughter to the dentist. However, subsequent, repeated calls and letters went unanswered.

Crown prosecutor Clayton Wallis mentioned in court that the child was given only cordial to drink, had a poor diet and her toothbrush was kept on a hard-to-reach bench.

Mr Wallis went on to comment that two of the molars removed were adult teeth and her two front teeth, also adult teeth, were not removed but had a ‘poor prognosis’.

He continued: ‘This is a very serious incident of cruelty to children.’

Judge Sarah Bradley told the mother she failed significantly in her duty as a parent: ‘It would’ve caused your daughter great social and emotional difficulties as well as physical pain.’

Defence barrister David Gardiner said his client was advised it would be best to wait until the baby teeth fell out.