Data sources

National Child Oral Health Study

The National Child Oral Health Study (NCOHS) provides a descriptive ‘snapshot’ of oral health in the child population of Australia. Data are collected from children aged 5–14 years, residing in all Australian states and territories. Information is collected using interviews and standardised dental examinations.

The study identified individual, family, community and dental system factors associated with oral health outcomes of Australian children and compares the oral health status of children across different aspects of the dental services system.

The NCOHS was last conducted in 2012–14. The National Oral Health Plan 2015–2024 calls for a population-based epidemiological study of the oral health of children to be conducted every 10 years.

National Survey of Adult Oral Health

The National Survey of Adult Oral Health (NSAOH) provides a descriptive ‘snapshot’ of oral health in the adult population of Australia.

The survey describes levels of oral disease, perceptions of oral health and patterns of dental care. Data are collected from a representative cross-section of people aged 15 years and over, residing in all states and territories of Australia. Information is collected using interviews and standardised dental examinations.

The National Oral Health Plan 2015–2024 calls for a population-based epidemiological study of the oral health of adults to be conducted every 10 years. The NSAOH was conducted in 2004–06 and again in 2017–18.

National Dental Telephone Interview Survey

The National Dental Telephone Interview Survey (NDTIS) is a telephone survey of a random sample of the Australian population aged 5 years and over. The survey collects oral health and dental care data, monitors the extent of social inequalities within the dental sector, and investigates the underlying reasons behind dental behaviours and the consequences of these behaviours.

Data collected included measures of self-reported oral health status, use of and access to dental services, social impact of oral health, financial burden of dental care and private health insurance that covered dental expenses. There is no clinical component to the survey.

The survey is conducted every 2–3 years. Surveys were conducted in 1994, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2013. The National Study of Adult Oral Health 2017–18 collected data on measures normally included in the NDTIS. The NDTIS has been conducted in 2021, however, the results of this survey are not yet available.

Further information about the National Dental Telephone Interview Survey 2013.

Australian Cancer Database

The Australian Cancer Database contains information on all Australians diagnosed with cancer (excluding basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas of the skin) since 1982. Data are collected by state and territory cancer registries from a number of sources and are supplied annually to the AIHW. The AIHW compiles and maintains the Australian Cancer Database, in partnership with the Australasian Association of Cancer Registries, which includes representatives from each state and territory cancer registry.

Further information about the Australian Cancer Database.

Australian Burden of Disease Study Database

The Australian Burden of Disease Study Database includes national and Indigenous burden of disease estimates for 2003, 2011, 2018 and 2022 including Years of life lost (YLL), Years lived with disability (YLD) and Disability-adjusted life years (DALY) for around 200 diseases included in the Australian Burden of Disease Study 2022. Subnational estimates (state/territory, remoteness and socioeconomic group) are available for 2022. National and Indigenous estimates of attributable burden due to the selected risk factors included in the study are available for 2003, 2011, 2018 and 2022. Data are available by 5 year age group and sex.

Further information about this data collection is available at: Australian Burden of Disease Study Database

National Health Survey

The 2020-21 national Health Survey (NHS) was conducted from a sample of approximately 11,000 households across Australia. Trained interviewers conducted personal interviews with selected residents in sampled households. There was no clinical component to the survey.

The 2020-21 NHS collected information about:

  • demographics and socioeconomic characteristics
  • the health status of the population, including long-term health conditions experienced;
  • health-related aspects of people’s lifestyles, such as smoking, fruit and vegetable consumption, and physical activity; and
  • health service usage such as consultations with health practitioners and actions people have taken recently for their health.

Further information about this data collection is available at: National Health Survey

Public Dental Waiting Times National Minimum Data Set

The PDWT NMDS enables reporting on the length of time that patients wait for public dental care in Australia, and the characteristics of patients who receive care or who were listed for care in a reference period.

The scope of the collection is to capture some basic data about adults aged 18 years and over who are placed on general dental care, denture care or assessment public dental waiting lists in a specific collection year, or who were placed on a waiting list at any time and were offered or received care in the collection year. The waiting time periods calculated are the time between the date a person is placed on a waiting list and the date they are offered dental care, and the time between the date a person is placed on a waiting list and the date they receive dental care.

Further information about the Public Dental Waiting Times National Minimum Data Set.

Data Quality Statement: Public Dental Waiting Times Database, 2019-20.

Child Dental Benefits Schedule data

The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) provides individual benefits for a range of basic dental services to eligible children aged 2–17 years. Services can be provided in a public or private setting. Benefits are not available for orthodontic or cosmetic dental work and cannot be paid for any services provided in a hospital.

Further information about the Child Dental Benefits Schedule.

Payment of benefits under the Child Dental Benefits Schedule is administered by the Department of Human Services. Although the Child Dental Benefits Schedule is not part of Medicare, statistics are captured through the Medicare Benefits Schedule, and are available under Category 10 – Dental Benefit Schedule of the Medicare Group Reports.

National Hospital Morbidity Database

The National Hospital Morbidity Database (NHMD) is a collection of records from admitted patient data collection systems in Australian hospitals. The data supplied in the NHMD are based on the National Minimum Data Set (NMDS) for Admitted patient care. The AIHW compiles the database from data supplied by the state and territory health authorities. It contains demographic, administrative and length of stay data, and data on the diagnoses of the patients, and the procedures they underwent in hospital. Principal diagnoses were recorded using the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision, Australian Modification (ICD-10-AM). Dental services are classified according to ACHI (Australian Classification of Health Interventions). ACHI is the Australian national standard for procedure and intervention coding in Australian hospitals.

Further information about the National Hospitals Data Collection.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) data collection

The Commonwealth government subsidises the cost of prescription medicines through two schemes, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) for eligible war veterans and their dependants.

People fall into two broad categories: general and concessional. Concessional beneficiaries include Pensioner Concession Card holders, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders, Health Care Card holders and DVA Pension Card holders. General patients do not hold any of the aforementioned cards. RPBS (or repatriation) patients hold DVA White, Gold or Orange Cards.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) processes all prescriptions dispensed under the PBS and RPBS and provides this data to the Department of Health. The PBS/RPBS data maintained by Health has been used to produce this report. Information collected includes the medication prescribed, the prescribing practitioner and characteristics of the person who is provided with the prescription. The figures reported relate to the number of prescriptions for PBS Schedule Dental Items processed by DHS in the reporting period

PBS/RPBS data does not include the following:

  • private prescriptions, i.e. the medicine is not listed in the PBS Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits
  • over the counter medicines
  • medicines supplied to public hospital inpatients.

Further information about the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme data collection.

Patient Experience Survey

The Patient Experience Survey is conducted annually by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and collects national data on access and barriers to a range of health care services, including dental professionals.

The survey includes data from people aged 15 years and over that accessed health services in the last 12 months, as well as from those who did not, and enables analysis of health service information in relation to particular population groups. Data are also collected on aspects of communication between patients and health professionals.

The 2021–22 Patient Experience Survey collected information from around 23,949 people across Australia.

Further information about the Patient Experience Survey

Health Expenditure Database

Health expenditure data, collected and reported annually through AIHW’s Health expenditure Australia report series (e.g. Health expenditure Australia 2020–21) includes estimates of expenditure on dental services—private and public—for state, territory and Australian governments.

The AIHW compiles its health expenditure database from a wide range of government and non-government sources. The data are mainly administrative in nature, though some survey information is included. Since 2008–09, the main source of government expenditure data has been the Government Health Expenditure National Minimum Data Set. This data set was developed with advice of the Health Expenditure Advisory Committee, and reporting is mandatory for all state and territory governments.

Total health expenditure excludes some types of health-related expenditure, including health-related Australian Defence Force expenditure, some local government expenditure and some non-government organisation expenditure.

Further information about the Health Expenditure Database

Disease Expenditure Database

The Disease Expenditure Database contains estimates of spending by Australia Burden of Disease Study condition, age group, and sex for admitted patient, emergency department, and outpatient hospital services, out-of-hospital medical services, and prescription pharmaceuticals.

Estimates in the Disease Expenditure Database have been derived by combining information from the:

  • National Hospital Morbidity Database (NHMD)
  • National Public Hospitals Establishments Database (NPHED)
  • National Non-admitted Patient Emergency Department Care Database (NNAPEDC)
  • National Non-admitted Patient Databases (aggregate, NAPAGG, and unit record, NAPUR)
  • National Hospital Costs Data Collection (NHCDC)
  • Private Hospital Data Bureau (PHDB) collection
  • Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) survey
  • Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)
  • Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
  • Health Expenditure Database.

It is not technically appropriate or feasible to allocate all spending on health goods and services by disease. For example, neither administration expenditure nor capital expenditure can be meaningfully attributed to any particular condition due to their nature. The calculated expenditure includes payments from all sources of funds, such as the Australian and State and Territory Governments, Private Health Insurance, and out of pocket payments by patients.

Further information about the Disease Expenditure Database

Household Expenditure Survey

The Household Expenditure Survey (HES) is conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) every six years. The survey collects detailed information about the expenditure, income and household characteristics from usual residents of private dwellings in urban and rural areas of Australia, covering about 98% of the people living in Australia. Average weekly expenditure on over 600 goods and services can be obtained from the survey.

The 2015–16 HES collected information from around 10,000 households over the period July 2015 to June 2016.

Further information about the Household Expenditure Survey.

General Treatment Dental data collection

The General Treatment Dental (GT-Dental) data collection contains de-identified unit record information relating to patients and general treatment dental services for which the private health insurer paid a benefit, from 2009–10 to present. De-identified information includes patient demographics, type of dental service, charges and benefits. This information is provided by dental service providers to private health insurers then from private health insurers to the Commonwealth Department of Health on a monthly basis.

Further information about the General Treatment Dental (GT-dental) data collection

National Health Workforce Data Set (NHWDS)

The National Health Workforce Data Set combines data from the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme with data collected from the Dental Workforce Survey conducted at the time of a practitioner’s annual registration or renewal. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency collects these data.

The data set includes information on the size and characteristics of the dental workforce (dentists, dental hygienists, dental therapists, dental prosthetists and oral health therapists) as well as:

  • the type of work done by, and work setting of, dental practitioners
  • the number of hours worked in clinical or non-clinical roles
  • the numbers of years worked, and the years they intend to remain in, the dental practitioner workforce
  • those registered dental practitioners who are not currently undertaking clinical work or who are not employed.

Further information about the National Health Workforce Data Set.

Survey of Disability, Ageing and Caring

The 2018 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Caring (SDAC) was conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics throughout Australia during the period July 2018 to March 2019. The aims of the 2018 SDAC are to:

  • measure the prevalence of disability in Australia
  • measure the need for support of older people and those with disability
  • provide a demographic and socio-economic profile of people with disability, older people and carers compared with the general population
  • estimate the number of and provide information about people who provide care to people with disability, long-term health conditions and older people.


Further information about the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Caring