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Dear Bloomberg Dental, I’ve always had bad teeth, so does it ring true that this will be the case for my kids?

Just looking at our kids is evidence enough that parents pass down many traits to their children, so does that mean that ‘bad teeth’ can be passed on as well?

Some rare genetic conditions such as amelogenesis imperfecta (defective enamel) or hypodontia (missing teeth) can be passed down from parents. It is accepted that some children have genetic susceptibility to gum disease and decay. However, recent research has shown that overwhelmingly it is the child’s environment and not genetics that plays the most important role in whether or not the child will experience these diseases.

How to keep your kids teeth healthy:

•Limit their intake of sugary food and drink.
•Help them with their brushing and make sure they brush for two minutes morning and night.
•Make sure they drink plenty of plain water.
•Bring them to see their dentist every six months.


Dear Ruhl Family Law Centre, Do I need an Order from the Court to formalise custody and access arrangements?

While you don’t strictly need an Order from the Court formalising your parenting arrangements, we almost always recommend one, even if you have an agreement.

If you do reach agreement, this can be formalised in two ways:

1. Parenting Plan: This is a written agreement between parents regarding children’s care arrangements. It is not registered in any court and is not enforceable, but it means that your agreement is in writing and is a reference for both parents.

2. Consent Orders: These are binding Orders made by the Court in terms agreed by the parents. Before the Orders will be made, the Court must consider what is in the best interests of the children.

Parenting Plans are more easily changed, so in some cases they may be more suitable (e.g. when the child is an infant). However, as Consent Orders are enforceable, they are usually the better option, so that you are protected if the other parent later wants to change the arrangement without your consent.


Dear Melanie, My child has started stuttering. What should I do?

Firstly, don’t panic! Stuttering is common in young children, and most of the time it will pass without you needing to do anything. Try and be patient through this time, and don’t comment on the stuttering at all (even suggestions to “slow down” or “think about your words” are unhelpful). Try to focus on what your child is trying to say, not how it’s coming out.

If your child isn’t aware of their difficulty, and everything else is going well, you can safely watch the stuttering for up to six months without doing anything. If the stuttering lasts longer than six months, or your child is stressed, or you are otherwise concerned, please see a speech pathologist. For a small number of children, the stuttering won’t resolve by itself and can persist into adulthood if left untreated.