The goal of Australia’s National Oral Health Plan 2015–2024 (COAG Health Council 2015) is to improve the oral health status and reduce the burden of poor oral health across the Australian population. The Plan outlines national strategic directions at both the population and individual level, across six Foundation Areas, the first being oral health promotion. Key strategies of this Foundation Area include:
- extending access to the preventive effects of fluoride
- broadening the availability of evidence-based oral health promotion programs
- strengthening and embedding nutrition and oral health policies in key settings, for example early childhood education.
- Fluoride: A naturally occurring trace mineral that helps to prevent tooth decay.
- Water fluoridation: The process of adjusting the amount of fluoride in drinking water.
- Fissure sealants: Materials applied to the pits and fissure surfaces of teeth to create a thin barrier, which protect the sealed surfaces from caries.
Brushing your teeth twice per day with a fluoridated toothpaste can be effective in preventing tooth decay. Tooth brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste mechanically removes and controls the build-up of plaque, and applies fluoride to the teeth.
The data presented in this section were sourced from the National Child Oral Health Study 2012–14 (Do & Spencer 2016).
Around two-thirds of children (69%) aged 5–14 years brushed their teeth at least twice a day with toothpaste
- Girls (71%) were more likely to have brushed their teeth at least twice a day with toothpaste than boys (66%).
- Indigenous children (54%) were less likely to brush their teeth twice a day with toothpaste than non-Indigenous children (70%).
- Children who last visited the dentist for a dental problem (65%) were less likely to brush their teeth twice a day with toothpaste than those who last visited for a check-up (73%).
- Children from high-income households (78%) were more likely to brush their teeth than children from low-income households (59%).