14 October 2021
Our state of decay on World Cavity Free Future Day
On World Cavity-Free Future Day, 14 October, the Australian Dental Association Branch Victorian Branch (ADAVB) is highlighting the appalling rates of preventable tooth decay (dental caries) and enormous expenditure on oral disease in Australia.
A cavity-free future seems a world away. Data recently released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) Disease expenditure in Australia 2018-19 reported that the highest expenditure specific condition was dental caries ($5.1 billion). This accounted for 57 per cent of the total spending on oral disorders. The AIHW report provides the most recent data available on the health care expenditure on all Australian Burden of Disease Study conditions, including expenditure by health care sector and type of condition. More was spent in total on dental conditions ($11 billion) than on GP services ($10 billion) and on public hospital emergency departments ($6 billion) in 2018-2019.
The ADA’s 2020 national consumer survey found that of the 25,000 respondents, 30 per cent of adults rated their oral health as poor or very poor, increasing to 50 per cent of those older than 56 years of age. Over 60 per cent of adults had not seen a dentist for at least two years. Not visiting the dentist regularly enough was seen as the biggest contributor, an issue which has worsened during the pandemic.