This publication reports on the oral health, dental visiting
and dental treatment needs of Australian adults as self-reported in the
National Dental Telephone Interview Survey (NDTIS) 2010. Time series data
across all NDTISs conducted since 1994 are also presented to provide a picture
of how key measures have changed over this period. International comparisons
are also included.
In 2010, the majority of Australian
adults reported good oral health. However, 37% reported that they had
experienced an oral health issue in the previous 12 months, including 15% who
experienced toothache, 25% who felt uncomfortable with their dental appearance
and 17% who had avoided certain foods.
Adults who were from low-income
households or held an Australian Government concession card were more likely
to report having 'fair' or 'poor' oral health and to have experienced
toothache than adults from high-income households or non-cardholders. There
was no significant change over time in these measures.
Around 60% of adults made a dental visit in the previous 12
months and the majority of these visited for a check-up (60%). Adults in the
lowest income group (51%) and cardholders (those who hold an Australian
Government concession card) (53%) were less likely than those in the highest
household income group (65%) and non-cardholders (64%) to have made a dental
visit in the previous 12 months.
Adults from Major cities were
more likely than those from all other areas to have made a dental visit and to
have visited for a check-up.
Barriers to dental care use
38% of adults experienced a financial barrier or hardship associated with
dental visits. Overall, 31% avoided or delayed making a dental visit due to
cost. Of those who did visit, around 11% of adults reported that dental
visits in the previous 12 months were a large financial burden. Adults from
the lowest income households were seven times as likely to report difficulty
paying a $150 dental bill than those from high-income households.
Australian adults reported oral health
similar to their Canadian counterparts but generally better than that of New
Zealanders. Fewer Australians than New Zealanders had no natural teeth.
However, Australians were more likely than their New Zealand counterparts to
have made a dental visit in the previous 12 months but less likely than those
in Canada to do so.
Australian adults were more likely at all ages than
Canadian adults to report that they had avoided or delayed visiting due to
cost. However, they were less likely to have avoided or delayed due to cost
than New Zealanders in all age groups up to 45-54 years and less likely to
report that they currently needed dental care.