Australian dentists have called on all political parties to slash the inequality in our dental system by making access to dental care around the nation a right—not a privilege.
Announcing its electoral statement at last week’s Australian Dental Association’s (ADA) 38th International Congress in Adelaide, the dentistry peak body will use the Federal election to campaign hard across four major issues affecting delivery of dental services nationally.
The ADA will also urge the major parties to make drastic changes to the system of inequality that deprives many Australians of being able to seek regular dental care.
The end result of extremely limited access to government funded dental treatment and inadequate state and federal funding for public dental services is that many Australians who can’t afford private care will wait years for treatment, their oral health declining as they wait.
Latest AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) data reveals:
- The number of potentially preventable hospitalisations related to dental conditions in 2016-17 was over 70,000.
- 42 per cent of children aged between five and 10 experience decay in their baby teeth.
- People over 15 typically have around 12.8 decayed, missing or filled teeth.
“These statistics are a wake-up call to parties of all persuasions,” ADA federal president Dr Carmelo Bonanno said.
“Most services are provided within the private sector and those who cannot pay suffer from poor oral health including tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss.
“The nation is divided into the haves with the good teeth and the have-nots with the poor teeth. This is a First World country and this should not be happening.”