Report points to hard-to-access dental services for elderly

dental care older australians

A new report launched by the Council on the Ageing (COTA) has highlighted accessibility to dental services as a general concern of older Australians that needs to be addressed.

According to the State of the (Older) Nation 2018 report, which conducted an extensive survey of the views of Australians aged 50 and over, health is the number one factor that determines quality of life. 

One of the issues cited as part of a general concern about health and wellbeing was access to dental care.

“COTA Australia is calling on all sides of politics to commit to a long-term national strategy to address the needs of older Australians including …. improving access to oral and dental health services for older Australians,” COTA Australia CEO Ian Yates said. 

The Australian Dental Association believes The Australian Dental Health Plan provides a comprehensive framework within which the federal government could provide services to groups such as older Australians, especially those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. 

The scheme, it says, would be modelled on the highly successful Child Dental Benefits Schedule and would be launched in conjunction with oral health campaigns designed to educate people on the way in which reduced tobacco use and considerably lower consumption of sugary and fatty food and drinks leads to improved oral health. 

Based on information sourced from the ADA website.


  1. In 1974, I took up an academic position at UWA. I was approached by the late and great Pat Shanahan-a dentist with a mission to provide adequate dental services for the elderly of WA. COTA has put in many submissions most to no avail. Most of the edentulous elderly don’t vote or protest. Therefore our caring politicians don’t care about them. But their relatives do care. They are the people who should be targeted for political support. It is a sad indictment of our society that many surveys, enquiries and budgets have passed since 1974 and we are still no further forward. Vale Patrick Shanahan.


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