For those with an interest in oral health, private health insurance policy, and the changes to the baby bonus announced last week – there is plenty of new reading at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library’s FlagPost blog (as summarised briefly below by crikey.com.au).
Not much to smile about
Amanda Biggs writes:
Two new dental reports provide a timely overview of the oral health of those with chronic illnesses compared to the broader population, and on the oral health of children and their families.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) publication Chronic conditions and oral health reveals disparities in oral health between people with a chronic condition and those without.
The publication reports on a survey that measured five oral health impacts: toothache, discomfort with appearance of teeth or mouth, avoidance of some foods due to tooth problems, experience of broken or chipped teeth, and oral facial pain. Two measures of tooth loss were also reported: average number of missing teeth and inadequate dentition (fewer than 21 teeth).
The second report also by AIHW, Families and their oral health, provides information on the dental health of Australian children and shows how closely this is related to the dental health of their parents. Some 16.7 per cent of children surveyed had experienced dental problems, such as toothache and or avoidance of some foods in the previous year. In families where children had such dental problems, some 23.2 per cent of their parents reported similar dental problems over the same period. Conversely, for children who reported having no dental problems during the last year, 86.1 per cent of their parents also had no dental problems.
Together, these reports can be seen as timely reminders of the disparities that exist between different groups in terms of their dental health. They may add weight to calls for increased funding for dental health of children of lower income families as well as those with chronic conditions. It remains to be seen if the recently announced Dental Reform package, will be sufficient to fully address these inequities.