Australia fails in 2018 National Oral Health Report

Australia fails in 2018 National Oral Health Report

A national oral health report card published in March, 2018 has revealed some sobering statistics regarding the oral health of Australians adults.

Australia’s Adult Oral Health Tracker is a joint initiative of the Aust. Dental Association (ADA) and the Aust. Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC). The report aims to track the progress of preventable oral diseases along with their risk factors and negative oral health outcomes. The report will be published on a regular basis, in order to monitor the progress of oral health targets – set for all Australians to achieve by 2025.

Where are we failing?

  • The most common chronic disease in Australia is tooth decay. This includes all oral and general health diseases. Currently 90.1% of Australians have experienced or are experiencing tooth decay in their permanent teeth.
  • A lot of Australians are not having their tooth decay treated by a dentist. The latest data reveals that 25.5% of us are living with untreated tooth decay. This can lead to oral health complications such as cavities, gum disease and tooth loss.
  • 19.8 % of adults aged over 15, have periodontal pockets greater than 4mm in width. Periodontal pockets are deep spaces between your teeth and gums that contain plaque and oral bacteria. As these pockets develop, your gums start to pull away and detach from your teeth irreversibly, leading to receding gums and potential tooth loss. If you have periodontal pockets, then you probably have gum disease (periodontitis).
  • Australians aren’t brushing their teeth enough. Half of all Australian adults do not brush their teeth twice a day as recommended. Over a 24 hour period, the development of plaque and tooth decay can progress significantly.
  • 52.2% of Australian adults are consuming too much sugar. Furthermore, approximately 75% of children consume excess sugar. Excess sugar intake is a major risk factor for tooth decay and erosion, not to mention cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
  • Poor childhood oral health is a high risk factor for poor oral health outcomes in adults. Over 22,000 Australian children aged less than 9 years old were hospitalised for oral health problems. All of these cases could have been prevented through proper oral care and hygiene, and access to free dental services via the Children Dental Benefit Schedule (CDBS).


Despite the current challenges, the best way to move forward is to improve action that can prevent poor oral health in Australia. Individuals, parents, families, communities, health professionals and government will need to play a part to ensure the oral health of all Australians in the future.


Manton DJ, Foley M, Gikas A, Ivanoski S, McCullough M, Peres MA, Roberts-Thomson K, Skinner J, Irving E, Seselja A, Calder R, Harris B, Lindberg R, Millar L, Nichols T. 2018 Australia’s Oral Health Tracker: Technical Paper, Australian Health Policy Collaboration, Victoria University, Melbourne. Retrieved from

Diabetes and your oral health

Diabetes and your oral health

Diabetes and your oral health

World Diabetes Day will be celebrated this year on 14 November to help raise awareness of diabetes, and to help promote the importance of screening.

Presently, 1 in 2 people live with an undiagnosed diabetes condition. But with better participation in individual screening programs, it is possible to identify more people with undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes, and even those with a higher risk of developing the disease in the future.

If you are diagnosed early, then receiving follow-up treatment can greatly reduce the risk of serious complications associated with Type 2 diabetes. There are a number of well known complications:

  • Neuropathy – nerve damage
  • Nephropathy – kidney disease
  • Heart disease
  • Retinopathy – eye damage
  • PAD – peripheral arterial disease

However, there is one overlooked complication of diabetes and untreated high blood glucose levels – diabetes can put your oral health at risk.

High blood glucose levels and the side effects of some medication for the disease can cause a dry mouth.

If you have a dry mouth condition, it may indicate a decrease in your mouth’s saliva production. Saliva is essential to clean your teeth and gums, and protect against the effects of oral bacteria.

A dry mouth condition can result in further oral health complications:

  • tooth decay
  • cavities/caries
  • gum inflammation
  • gingivitis
  • periodontitis (gum disease)
  • bleeding gums
  • salivary gland infections
  • oral thrush
  • mouth sores

TC Dental Group World Diabetes Day

If your blood glucose levels are uncontrolled or untreated, your white blood cell count is also affected. This can compromise your immune response to oral infections and inflammation, and increase your risk of developing severe periodontitis (periodontal/gum disease).

Diabetics with periodontitis experience double the rate of periodontal disease progression, and an increased risk of alveolar bone loss. Severe periodontitis can drive blood sugar levels even higher, putting diabetics at increased risk for other diabetic complications.

The good news is periodontitis responds well to dental treatment, such as antibiotics and regular dental cleaning, and maintenance of good oral hygiene practices. Research has shown that periodontal treatment of diabetics may result in an improvement in their diabetes condition also.

While dentists are not qualified to diagnose Type 2 diabetes, they are among the first health care professionals to recognise symptoms that are not usually associated with typical oral health conditions.

But the incidental detection of diabetes symptoms and complications by your dentist, doctor or any other health professional may occur when the disease has already progressed.

The key to prevention of diabetes is to take personal action.

As part of World Diabetes Day 2016, IDF (International Diabetes Federation) has introduced a new online screening activity. By participating, you can find out if you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes or diabetes complications over the next ten years.

Screen yourself and encourage your adult family and friends to take the online diabetes risk assessment questionnaire also. It’s easy, confidential and only takes a few minutes.

Test2Prevent for World Diabetes Day on 14 November.

Use this link: