Dental Tribune Asia Pacific

Oral Health Tracker in Australia reveals several areas of concern

MELBOURNE, Australia: There is a lot more to Australia than just sunny beaches, cricket and kangaroos. In what is reportedly a world-first, coinciding with World Oral Health Day, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) and Australian Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC) at Victoria University recently released a national oral health report card. According to the results, more than 90 per cent of Australian adults have experienced decay in their permanent teeth, revealing a very dark story.

Establishing links between oral health and general overall health, the Oral Health Tracker exposes a number of concerns. Among the major issues is tooth decay, which has been revealed to be the most common chronic disease in Australia­­­­­. Adding to the issue of decay, is the overconsumption of sugar by three out of four Australian children and young people, and an adult population where only slightly more than half brush their teeth twice a day.

“In 2015 to 2016, there were 67,266 potentially preventable hospitalisations for oral health problems and almost one third of these were children under the age of nine years. Worryingly, there’s a growing number of children in this age group who are being admitted to hospital for dental health reasons," said Professor Rosemary Calder, Director of the AHPC.

According to the ADA, the Oral Health Tracker was developed by Australia’s leading dental academics, researchers, clinicians and policy and public health experts. It sets targets for improving the oral health of children, young people and adults by the year 2025, which is aligned with the World Health Organisation’s targets for global prevention and reduction in chronic diseases.

“Poor oral health in childhood is a predictor of disease in adulthood. Australia needs to recognise that oral healthcare is part of good healthcare, and that access to dental care is a significant contributor to good oral and physical health,” said Dr Hugo Sachs, ADA Federal President.

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DT Asia Pacific No. 6, 2019

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