Here are some statistics about dental health in Australia that might interest you:
Who is at risk?
30% of Australians currently go without regular dental care due to cost, unavailability of services and other barriers. More than one in three Australians delay or avoid dental treatment because they can’t afford it (that’s more than 7 million people).
Public dental patients are more likely than other Australians to have dental decay and nearly half of 6-year-old children have decay in their baby teeth.
Which groups suffer most?
The groups of people who are least likely to be able to access proper care and treatment are those on lower than average incomes, people living in rural and remote areas, indigenous people, aged care facility residents, people with disabilities, young adults on income support payments and sole parents.
Among people with serious oral health problems-
- 9 out of 10 experience pain or discomfort
- 9 out of 10 have experienced embarrassment due to their teeth, contributing to poor self image reducing their social interactions and limiting employment prospects
- Common dental diseases result in an estimated 32 000 preventable hospitalisations per year
Country People Wait
People in rural and remote areas commonly experience waiting times in excess of two years on the public system. Waiting lists for general treatment can go as high as three and a half years in some parts of the country.
Middle- aged and older adults with health care cards are twice as likely as other Australians to have had all their teeth extracted. Those card holders who have kept some natural teeth are twice as likely to have too few teeth for effective chewing and these teeth have nearly twice as much untreated decay.
Prevention really is better than cure
It sounds obvious but regular tooth brushing reduces plaque build-up and the associated conditions of decay (also known as caries) and gum disease. Brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste is more effective in preventing dental caries than a non-fluoridated toothpaste. Technique is an important part of brushing and should be taught from an early age.
Drink Fluoridated Water
Sugar consumption is a major contributor to dental caries. Most Australians have a sugar intake well above the recommended daily level. Reducing sugar intake is one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to improve oral health.
Dental caries is the most prevalent chronic disease worldwide. Over 90% of Australian adults have experienced dental caries at some point in their lives.
Oral cancer incidence rose in Australia between 2009 and 2013 from 3.7% to 4.2%. Oral cancer risk factors including tobacco use, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and alcohol consumption, especially when combined with smoking.
Periodontal (or Gum) Disease rates have remained relatively unchanged over thirty years despite improvements in oral hygiene. The risk of gum disease increases with age
People are at higher risk of tooth loss as they get older. Toothache is most common in adults aged between 25-44 years.
We will change the world!
I hope you have found these statistics interesting. Here at CDP, we aim to reduce dental disease one patient at a time!
By Lisa Walsh
Front Office CDP