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Oral health and dental care in Australia: key facts and figures trends 2014

This report is the latest in the Oral health and dental care in Australia: Key facts and figures suite of printed publications and web products. It highlights the key trends, which suggest there have been improvements over the long term but there is some cause for concern in recent years. In adults, there was a decrease in the average number of teeth affected by decay from nearly 15 in 1987–88 to around 13 in 2004–06. From 1994 to 2010, however, the proportion reporting any adverse oral health impact generally increased and ranged from 31.4% in 1994 to a peak of 39.9% in 2008.

Adult oral health and dental visiting in Australia: results from the National Dental Telephone Interview Survey 2010

This publication reports oral health and dental visiting patterns of Australian adults in 2010, and trends from 1994 to 2010. While most adults reported good oral health in 2010 and 60% had visited a dentist in the previous 12 months, almost 38% reported a financial barrier or hardship associated with dental visits. Adults from lower income households, or those who held a concession card, reported poorer oral health status, more toothache, less dental visiting and greater difficulty in paying a $150 dental bill than those from higher income households and non-cardholders.

Child and teenager oral health and dental visiting: results from the National Dental Telephone Interview Survey 2010

This publication describes the self-reported oral health and dental visiting patterns of Australian children and teenagers in 2010 as well as trends between 1994 and 2010.While the majority of children and teenagers reported good oral health and had made a dental visit in the previous 12 months, almost 30% experienced at least one financial barrier or burden associated with dental care. Lower rates of dental visiting and greater experience of poor oral health,  financial barriers or hardship, and barriers to dental care were all more evident among those from lower income households than those from higher income households.

Oral health and dental care in Australia: key facts and figures 2012

This report presents the most recent information on the oral health and dental care of Australians. Data are presented on tooth decay, tooth loss, dental appearance, dental visits, insurance cover  and the dental workforce. Data show that in 2010, around 64% of people aged 5 and over had visited a dentist in the previous year and 54% had some level of private dental insurance.

The dental health of Australia's children by remoteness: Child Dental Health Survey Australia 2009

This publication describes the dental health of Australian children examined by school dental service staff in 2009 and provides insights into the dental health of rural children. Dental decay was relatively common, with around half of children examined having a history of decay. Children in Regional and Remote areas were at increased risk of dental decay in their baby teeth compared with those in Major cities.

Northern Territory Emergency Response Child Health Check Initiative: follow-up services for oral and ear health: final report, 2007-2012

This is the final report for dental, audiology, and ear, nose and throat (ENT) services funded by the Northern Territory Emergency Response Child Health Check Initiative Closing the Gap program.More than 17,000 dental and 9,000 audiology services were provided between August 2007 and June 2012, and about 6,000 ENT services between August 2007 and December 2010. The majority of children who received a referral at their Child Health Check received the referred service, with follow-up rates of 94% for dental referrals, nearly 100% for audiology referrals and 97% for ENT referrals.

Families and their oral health

This report provides information on the oral health and oral health impacts experienced by Australian children using data from the 2010 National Dental Telephone Interview Survey. It seeks to determine if this experience is closely related to the oral health of their parents. Additionally, the report explores the role family circumstances play in children's experience of oral health.

Chronic conditions and oral health

This report provides information on the impact of oral conditions on people with a chronic condition including asthma, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, stroke, kidney disease, high blood pressure and depression.

Fissure sealant use among children attending school dental services: Child Dental Health Survey Australia 2008

The Child Dental Health Survey provides information on patterns of oral health and service provision among children attending school dental services in Australia in 2008. The report shows that decay is relatively common in Australian children, and there has been an increasing tendency to provide fissure sealants to children at risk of caries. Fissure sealants among 12-year-old children increased until 2001, but decreased thereafter.

Trends in the Australian Dental Labour Force, 2000 to 2009: dental labour force collection, 2009

Trends in the Australian Dental Labour Force, 2000 to 2009 presents findings from the 2009 national dental labour force data collection and explores trends since 2000. The collection includes all dentists (general dental practitioners and specialists), dental hygienists, dental therapists, oral health therapists and dental prosthetists across Australia. There was an overall increase in the number of dental professionals over this period. Dental therapists were the only group to decrease in number because of the move towards dual qualified oral health therapists.

Insurance and use of dental services: National Dental Telephone Interview Survey 2010

This publication presents findings on dental visiting and receipt of dental services by dental insurance status, using information from the National Dental Telephone Interview Survey, 2010. A higher proportion of Australian adults with dental insurance made a dental visit in the last 12 months (70.9%) than adults without insurance (48.3%). Provision of scale and clean services in the previous 12 months varied by insurance status with a higher proportion of adults with insurance receiving scale and clean services (83.5%) than adults without insurance (63.6%). A higher proportion of adults without insurance had extractions (19.0%) than adults with insurance (10.4%).

Child Dental Health Survey Australia 2007: 30-year trends in child oral health

The Child Dental Health Survey provides national information on the dental health of children attending school dental services in Australia, and shows that decay is relatively common in Australian children. This publication describes trends in oral health of Australian children between 1989 and 2007. Over this period, caries has declined markedly in the permanent teeth of children aged 12, but declined far less in the deciduous teeth of children aged 6.

Dental health of Indigenous children in the Northern Territory: progress of the Closing the Gap Child Oral Health Program

This Bulletin presents information on the oral health status of Indigenous children who received dental services under the Northern Territory Closing the Gap Child Oral Health Program. Between August 2007 and December 2011 more than 8,000 children were provided with over 14,000 dental services through the program. About 56% of children who received a dental service were treated for at least one oral health problem. The most commonly treated problem was dental caries (52%). Of the children who received a dental service over a 6 month period between 1 January and 30 June 2011, 82% had a dental caries experience with an average of 4.5 caries per child.Analysis of a sample of children who received more than one dental service showed that about 60% of children who received treatment for dental caries at their first dental service did not require treatment for the same condition at their most recent dental service, highlighting an improvement in their oral health status.

Oral health and use of dental services 2008: findings from the National Dental Telephone Interview Survey 2008

This publication presents results from the sixth National Dental Telephone Interview Survey, conducted in 2008. It reports on self-reported oral health status and impacts of oral conditions of Australian adults. Key results on dental visiting, receipt of services and financial barriers to dental care are features of this report.

Dental health behaviours among children 2002-2004: the use of fluoride toothpaste, fluoride tablets and drops, and fluoride mouthrinse

This report from a study of almost 17,500 children from four Australian states (Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania) shows that more than 99% of children brushed their teeth with toothpaste, with more than two-thirds brushing the recommended 2 times per day. About 10% of children had used fluoride tablets or drops, and the majority used them for less than 3 years. The use of a fluoride mouthrinse was more common among older children.

The Child Dental Health Surveys Australia, 2005 and 2006

This publication describes the state of oral health of Australian children attending a school dental service in 2005 and 2006. Dental decay remains relatively prevalent among Australian children, affecting the deciduous teeth of more than half of all 6 year olds, and the permanent teeth of nearly half of all 12 year olds.

Oral health and dental care in Australia: key facts and figures 2011

The report summarises the most up-to-date information available in Australia today on the oral health and dental visiting of the Australian population. Data have been sourced from surveys managed by the Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health (ARCPOH) and administrative data sets managed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Visits supplied in dental practice in Australia

In Australia, the number of hours per year dentists spent working decreased between 1983 and 2010. The number of patient visits supplied per hour worked also fell over the same period. These declines were reflected in a decrease in the overall number of patient visits supplied by dentists per year.

Oral health practitioners labour force projection 2006-2025

Between 2006 and 2025 the number of oral health therapists practising in Australia is expected to increase from 371 to 2,117. Dental hygienist numbers are also expected to increase (from 674 to 1,458), while dental therapist numbers are projected to decrease (from 1,171 to 443). Overall, the number of oral health practitioners per 100,000 population is expected to increase from 10.8 to 16.2 by 2025.

Dentists, specialists and allied practitioners in Australia: Dental Labour Force Collection, 2006

The supply of dentists (including dental specialists) grew from 46.6 to 50.3 full-time equivalent practising dentists per 100,000 population between 2000 and 2006. In 2006 there were an estimated10,400 practising dentists in Australia, of whom 1,300 were dental specialists. There were an additional 3,100 allied dental practitioners comprising of dental hygienists, dental therapists, and oral health therapists, nearly all of whom were women. Almost 90% of the estimated 900 practising dental prosthetists in 2006 were men.

Oral health practitioners in Australia, 2006

In 2006, there were 1,171 dental therapists, 674 dental hygienists and 371 oral health therapists practising in Australia. The oral health practitioner workforce was overwhelmingly female, with 98.8% of dental therapists, 96.7% of hygienists and 94.8% of oral health therapists being female. Dental therapists were the oldest group among the oral health labour force, with an average age of 42.9 years.

Changes in child toothbrushing over time

The proportion of children brushing their teeth less than once a day, among children when they start brushing with toothpaste, almost doubled between 1993 and 2000. The proportion brushing with low-fluoride children's toothpaste, as is recommended for children aged 6 years or under, has increased. The inappropriate eating or licking of toothpaste has increased, both when children start brushing and at 5 years of age.

Dental decay among Australian children

The Child Dental Health Survey 2005-06 provides information on the oral health of children attending school dental services in Australia, and shows that decay is relatively common in Australian children. Nearly half children aged 5-6 years (48.7%) had a history of dental decay in the deciduous teeth (also known as baby teeth). Likewise, nearly half of children aged 12 years (45.1%) had a history of decay in the permanent teeth. Young children from the lowest socioeconomic areas had about 70% more dental decay than children from the highest socioeconomic areas.

Trends in access to dental care among Australian adults 1994-2008

Between 1994 and 2008 half of all Australians visited a dentist most years and the proportion of those who visited for a check-up increased from 46% to 55%. However, there were growing inequalities in the use of dental care. People on low incomes, those who live in rural areas and those without dental insurance did not have the same gains in visiting a dentist regularly for a check-up compared to higher income earners, urban dwellers and those with dental insurance.

Dental attendance patterns and oral health status

Forty per cent of Australian adults visit the dentist at least once a year for a check-up while nearly 30% visit infrequently and usually for a dental problem. Those with an unfavourable pattern of dental attendance had more than 3 times the level of untreated decay and 1.6 times more teeth missing due to dental disease than those with a favourable pattern of attendance. They were also more likely to report avoiding or delaying dental care due to the cost and being very afraid or distressed when making a dental visit.

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