This publication provides a summary of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child oral health using information collected from three data sources: the Child Dental Health Survey, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Receipt of Hospital Dental Care Investigation and the Study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Oral Health in Remote Communities. The main points of interest are as follows:
- A higher percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children had experienced dental caries than other Australian children at all ages between 4 and 14 years.
- Throughout the states and territories observed, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children had consistently higher levels of dental caries (decay) in the deciduous and permanent dentition than their non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander counterparts.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children most affected were those in socially disadvantaged groups and those living in rural/remote areas.
- Trends in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child caries prevalence indicate that dental caries levels are rising, particularly in the deciduous dentition.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged <5 years had almost one and a half times the rate of hospitalisation for dental care as other Australian children.
- The rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children receiving hospital dental care increased with increasing geographic remoteness.
- Less than 5% of remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pre-school children brush their teeth on a regular basis.
- Many young remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children experienced extensive destruction of their deciduous teeth.
Appendix A: Child Dental Health Survey findings by state/territory
Appendix B: Indigenous oral health research initiatives
Appendix C: Indigenous child oral health policies
End matter: Acknowledgments; Abbreviations; Symbols; References; List of tables; List of figures