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Sunday, 14 July, 2024

01 Jun 2004 | Australasian Dental Practice

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Indigenous dental health issues

Indigenous Health

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the National Rural Health Alliance (NTHA) have written to Minister Tony Abbott seeking a commitment that the new dental initiative in MedicarePlus will give priority attention to Indigenous patients.


Tom McCartney, Chair of NACCHO, said that improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be the nation's number one priority - and oral and dental health is on of the most serious parts of the challenge.

According to the NACCHO, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have poorer oral health than the rest of the community. Over 16 percent are edentulous compared with the overall Australian figure of 10 percent. Indigenous Australians have worse periodontal health, despite their lower average age and Indigenous children are also much worse off in terms of dental disease and have a higher level of untreated decayed teeth.

An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Oral Health Action Plan was produced at a Workshop in September 2002. The National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health also recognises the impact of poor oral health on chronic disease and self-esteem.

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