AUSTRALIA NEEDS TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT IMPROVING ORAL HEALTH
Data showing that Australia’s oral health is in a shocking condition must be a wakeup call to the Turnbull Government to get serious about oral health and drop their cuts to adult public dental
The Oral Health Tracker, released to coincide with World Oral Health Day, paints a frightening picture of the state of the nation’s teeth at all ages:
- Close a third of children (5-10 years old) have untreated tooth decay.
- Almost half of Australian children have not visited a dentist before their fifth birthday.
- Ninety percent (89.1%) of adults have suffered from tooth decay
- Almost half of adults have not had a check-up in the last 12 months and only half brush their teeth the recommended two times a day.
Dental and oral problems aren’t just about a toothache – in older Australians they can lead to poor nutrition, weight loss, increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, and they can cause developmental problems in young children.
Labor knows that an investment in oral health isn’t just about teeth – it’s an investment in people’s wellbeing.
That’s why we funded the Children’s Dental Benefit Schedule, targeted to ensure that as many children as possible have access to essential dental care. And it’s why we fought time and time to protect it – both against plans to axe the scheme and reduce the value of the scheme.
This data is also a reminder of how short sighted the Turnbull Government’s $300 million a year cut to adult public dental services is. This cut will see 337,000 Australians lose access to life-changing dental services, putting more pressure on waiting lists and leaving older Australians languishing with poor oral health.
This World Oral Health Day, Labor encourages Australians to prioritise their oral health – and we urge the Turnbull Government to provide much-needed funding to address this crisis, and drop their cuts to public dental.
TUESDAY, 20 MARCH 2018