Background

The goal of Australia's National Oral Health Plan 2015–2024 (NOHP) is ‘to improve health and wellbeing across the Australian population by improving oral health status and reducing the burden of poor oral health’ (COAG 2015).

The NOHP outlines guiding principles that underpin Australia’s oral health system and provides national strategic direction including targeted strategies in six Foundation Areas and across four Priority Populations.

Achievement of the foundation area goals will contribute to improving the oral health of the majority of Australians (Table 1).

Table 1: Australia’s National Oral Health Plan 2015–2024 foundation areas
Foundation area

Goal

1. Oral health promotion

All Australians have access to oral health promoting environments and to appropriate evidence-based information and programs that support them to make informed decisions about their oral health

2. Accessible oral health services

All Australians have access to appropriate oral health care in a clinically appropriate timeframe

3. Systems alignment and integration

Social, health and education systems work together to support health mouths and healthy lives

4. Safety and quality

Oral health services are provided in accordance with the Australia Safety and Quality Goals for Health care

5. Workforce development

The workforce for oral health is of an appropriate size and is appropriately trained and distributed

6. Research and evaluation

Appropriate and timely data is available at both the population and service level for planning, monitoring and evaluation

The priority populations highlight the groups that experience the most significant barriers to accessing oral health care and the greatest burden of oral disease (Table 2). 

Table 2: Australia’s National Oral Health Plan 2015–2024 priority populations

Priority populations:

1. People who are socially disadvantaged or on low incomes

2. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

3. People living in regional and remote Australia

4. People with additional and/or specialised health care needs

In order to monitor progress of the strategies of the NOHP, a set of 26 core Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) were developed; it is intended that they will be reported against every two years for the life of the plan.

In 2019, the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC) endorsed a report (COAG 2019) that provided the baseline data for the 26 core KPIs, and included some further explanation of each of the KPIs and the rationale for their inclusion.

This report is the next in the series and presents the most up-to-date data currently available for each of the 26 core KPIs.

The 26 core KPIs have been grouped into seven broad topic areas (Table 3).

Table 3: Australia’s National Oral Health Plan 2015–2024 KPI topic areas

KPI topic areas

1. Our oral health—a national perspective

2. How oral disease impacts our wellbeing

3. Preventive strategies to reduce the risk of oral disease

4. Behaviours that increase the risk of oral disease

5. Access to oral health services

6. Safety and quality of oral health services

7. The oral health workforce

References:

COAG (Council of Australian Governments) Health Council 2015. Healthy mouths, healthy lives: Australia’s National Oral Health Plan 2015–2024. Adelaide: South Australian Dental Service.

COAG (Council of Australian Governments) Health Council 2019. Healthy mouths, healthy lives: Australia’s National Oral Health Plan 2015–2024. Performance monitoring report: baseline report 2017. Victoria: Dental Health Services Victoria