Australia’s dental health report card is in, and according to assessors there’s some serious room for improvement. They note the average Australian adult has around 13 decayed, filled or missing teeth, while less than half of all Australians have visited a dentist in the past 12 months.
Here’s an insight into the state of Australia’s dental care, and the small actions we can all take to improve dental health.
On November 19, the Australian Government released its regular report card examining the dental health and habits of everyday Australians. And its findings were surprising to say the least, indicating many of us could do better when it comes to looking after our teeth.
Not only are we not visiting the dentist frequently enough, many of us aren’t taking enough care of our teeth in general, with poor hygiene and bad habits leading to decay.
Children are also among those affected, with the report finding high levels of decay in both baby and permanent teeth.
So, let’s dive into some dental statistics.
A deep dive into decay
It’s little surprise that teeth tend to deteriorate as people age, with a lifetime of dental habits and the wear and tear of life all taking its toll on our teeth.
In Australia that means those aged 15 or over have an average of 12.8 decayed, missing or filled teeth, but perhaps more frighteningly it’s also impacting our children. The report found:
- Children aged between five and 10 had on average 1.5 decayed, missing or filled teeth.
- Children aged six to 14 had on average one decayed, missing or filled tooth
- Teens and adults aged 15 to 34 had on average 4.5 decayed, missing or filled teeth
- Adults aged 35 to 54 had on average 14.4 decayed, missing or filled teeth
- Adults aged 55 to 74 had on average 22.2 decayed, missing or filled teeth
- Adults aged over 75 had on average 24.3 decayed, missing or filled teeth
- One in 25 Australians aged 15 and over had no natural teeth.
Dental health care
When it comes to how we look after our teeth, the cold hard statistics indicate we could be doing better. The report noted only 47 per cent of Australians had visited a dentist in the past year.
- Only seven in 10 children brush their teeth with toothpaste as least twice a day
- Three in 10 people delay a visit to the dentist due to cost
- In 2014–15, around one-quarter of all Australians (26%) had last consulted a dentist or dental professional more than two years ago.
- Around one in five (21%) children aged 2–14 years have never consulted a dentist or dental professional at all.
- Women were more likely to have visited a dentist in the past 12 months (50 per cent versus 44 per cent)
The greater health burden
Beyond a high incidence of cavities, poor oral health also had greater impacts and placed a heavy, often avoidable burden on the general health system, the report noted.
They found that in 2011 poor oral health contributed 4.4 per cent of all the burden that non-fatal burden diseases placed on the community including: stroke, cadiovascular disease, low birth weight and poor pregnancy outcomes, lung conditions, oral cancer and diabetes.
Meanwhile, in 2016-17, about 70,200 hospitalisations for dental conditions could have been avoided with earlier dental treatment.
About Brite Dental
Brite Dental is a community-focused dental practice, committed to ensuring you and your family receive the highest quality of care in a warm and professional environment.
Offering a full range of dental services ranging, from children’s dentistry through to high-end cosmetic dentistry, we are conveniently located in central Panania.