- AIHW Releases new oral health research reports

9 November 2012

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government under the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act (Cth) 1987 to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare. It has published two research reports reviewing dental and oral health in Australia.

These reports are an excellent way to identify dental and oral healthcare trends that are likely to impact upon the sales of dental products and related services, particularly as any major areas of concern are often targeted by government for additional spending.

Report 57 - Families and their oral health

Parental factors can influence children’s oral health. The aim of this research is to investigate associations between parents’ and children’s oral health. This report provides information on the oral health and oral health impacts experienced by Australian children using data from the 2010 National Dental Telephone Interview Survey. It seeks to determine if this experience is closely related to the oral health of their parents. Additionally, the report explores the role family circumstances play in children’s experience of oral health.

The report found that on average, 9.7% of Australian children experienced toothache and 12.8% avoided some foods because of oral problems. Some 16.7% of children experienced at least one of these impacts. Older children (aged 11-17) were more likely than younger children (aged 5-10) to experience either of these impacts.

It noted that children who experienced an oral health impact in the last 12 months were more likely than children who did not to: have a perceived need for dental care reported by their parent; have their oral health reported by their parent as fair or poor; have parents who avoided or delayed visiting the dentist themselves due to cost; be from families who report difficulty having to pay a 0 dental bill; and have parents who also experienced an oral health impact in the same period (particularly avoidance of some foods).

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Report 56 - Chronic diseases and oral health

This report provides information on the impact of oral conditions on people with a chronic condition including asthma, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, stroke, kidney disease, high blood pressure and depression.

Data is presented on: the experience of toothache; feeling uncomfortable with the appearance of teeth, mouth or dentures; avoiding some foods due to problems with teeth, mouth or dentures; experience of a broken or chipped natural tooth; experience of pain in the face, jaw, temple, in front of the ear or in the ear (orofacial pain).

In addition, oral conditions can result in impairment, particularly loss of teeth. Two measures of tooth loss are also reported on here, these being the average number of missing teeth and inadequate dentition (fewer than 21 teeth).

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