Overview of results

This report describes levels of oral health in the adult population of Queensland at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The findings are from the 2004–06 National Survey of Adult Oral Health (NSAOH). In Queensland, 2,052 people were interviewed and 824 people were dentally examined for the survey. This report presents percentages and means for 30 oral health indicators in tables that compare three age groups and classify people according to five sociodemographic characteristics: sex, residential locality, socioeconomic status of residential postcode, government health card status and dental insurance status.

Oral health status

  • 5.8% of people had no natural teeth and among dentate people, an average of 4.3 teeth per person were missing. Higher levels of tooth loss were associated with low socioeconomic status, having a government health card and being uninsured.
  • 27.6% of people had untreated dental decay and an average of 13.1 teeth per person were decayed, missing or filled. There was relatively little variation among sociodemographic groups in indicators of dental decay experience.
  • 24.7% of people had inflamed gums and 24.1% had moderate or severe gum disease. Two indicators of gum disease occurred more frequently outside Brisbane than in the capital city.

Oral health care

  • 58.5% of people had visited a dentist within the preceding 12 months, and 50.5% said they usually did so. These and two other measures of dental attendance varied according to all five sociodemographic characteristics.
  • 73.5% of people had a dentist that they usually attended, although 31.5% said that they avoided or delayed dental care due to its cost. Barriers to dental care were most strongly associated with all five sociodemographic characteristics.

Oral health perceptions

  • 15.1% of people said they had avoided some foods due to dental problems, and 13.2% had experienced toothache, in the preceding 12 months. Females tended to report poorer oral health perceptions than males and the perceptions were also associated with having a government health card and being insured.
  • 34.9% of people felt they needed an extraction or filling, although only 7.5% said they needed dentures. Perceived treatment needs were more likely to be reported by the uninsured than the insured.

Age-standardised analysis revealed that government health cardholders had poorer outcomes for 13 of the 29 indicators reported, while the uninsured had poorer outcomes for 21 of the 30 indicators.