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released: 2 Dec 2014 author: AIHW media release

The report presents data on the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Oral Health Program. From July 2012 to December 2013 approximately 3,700 Indigenous children received full-mouth fluoride varnish applications; 2,100 received fissure sealants; and 4,700 were provided with clinical services. Forty one percent of children had untreated caries; the mean dmft score for children aged 6 was 5.3, and the mean DMFT score for 12 year olds was 2.1. Between 2009 and 2013 the proportion of children with caries experience decreased in most age groups, in particular for 1–3 year olds, where the proportion dropped from 73% to 56%.

ISSN 2204-2717; ISBN 978-1-74249-668-9; Cat. no. IHW 144; 54pp.; $24

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Summary

This report describes the services delivered under the National Partnership Agreement on Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory (SFNT ) Health Implementation  Plan (IP) Oral Health Program (OHP) from July 2012 to December 2013. Data are presented on the children who participated in the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Oral Health Program (SFNT OHP), the services they received, and their oral health status. This program replaced and expanded upon the Child Health Check Initiative/Closing the Gap program -CHCI(CtG)-  that ran from August 2007 to June 2012.

Preventive services

  • The SFNT preventive program includes the application of full-mouth fluoride varnish (FV ) and fissure sealants. From July 2012 to December 2013, a total of 3,670 Indigenous children received 4,046 services where full-mouth FV was applied, and 2,062 children received 2,263 services where fissure sealants were applied.

Clinical services

  • A total of 4,717 Indigenous children were provided with 6,544 occasions of clinical service (including tooth extraction under general anaesthetic). Of the 349 children who were provided with extractions, 226 were treated at a dental visit with topical or local anaesthetic, while 126 were treated in hospital under general anaesthetic.

Oral health status of children

  • 41% of Indigenous children who received a clinical service in 2013 were treated for dental caries.
  • From July 2012 to December 2013, the mean number of decayed, missing or filled deciduous teeth (dmft) for 6 year olds was 5.3, and the mean number of decayed, missing or filled permanent teeth (DMFT ) for 12 year olds was 2.1.

Changes over time

  • Among children who participated in the CHCI(CtG) and SFNT programs (from August 2007 to December 2013), the proportion treated for at least 1 oral health problem decreased from 48% at their last CHCI(CtG) course of care to 45% at their last SFNT course of care. The proportion with untreated caries, however, increased slightly from 40 to 44%.
  • Of the children who participated in both programs between August 2007 and December 2013, 467 were treated for untreated caries at their last CHCI(CtG)  course of care and most (53%) were free of the condition at their last SFNT course of care. All children who had mouth infections or mouth sores at their last CHCI(CtG) course of care (22) were without the condition at their last SFNT course of care.
  • The proportion of children with caries experience (those with a dmft and DMFT score greater than 0) decreased for most age groups between 2009 and 2013. In particular, for 1-3 year olds, the proportion decreased from 73% in the period March to December 2009, to 56% in the period July 2012 to December  2013; and for 12 year olds the proportion decreased from 81% to 67% over the same period.

Recommended citation

AIHW 2014. Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory: oral health services July 2012-December 2013. Cat. no. IHW 144. Canberra: AIHW.

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