This report describes the state of oral health of Australian children attending a school dental service (SDS) in 2005 and 2006. The findings are based on analyses of data extracted from the 2005 and 2006 Child Dental Health Surveys (CDHS) for 193,457 children from ages 4 to 15 from most states and territories. Data for New South Wales and Victoria are not reported here; therefore, any comparisons made with data for previous years, or with international data, should be made with caution.

Dental decay remains relatively prevalent among Australian children. It affects the deciduous teeth of more than half of all 6 year old children, with those in this age group having an average of 2 teeth affected by decay. Nearly half of all 12 year olds have their permanent teeth affected by caries, and have an average of 1.2 teeth affected by decay.

However, decay experience is concentrated in a minority of children in both these age groups. While the average 6 year old child had just over 2 teeth affected by caries, the 10% of children this age with the most extensive history of deciduous tooth decay had approximately 8 deciduous teeth affected. This was almost 4 times higher than the national average for this age group.

Among 12 year olds, the 10% of children with the most extensive history of decay in their permanent teeth had an average of almost 5 teeth affected by decay. This is about 4 times higher than the national average for 12 year olds.