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Australia’s Dss Dedicating 11m To Aboriginal Oral Care And Education

By Expert Author: Karen McDonagh

The Australian Government has invested eleven million dollars over the last four years to tackle the issue of oral health care among aboriginal peoples in Australia. The program has provided transportable and mobile dental facilities, in order to facilitate treatment and prevention services to regional and remote indigenous communities, and assess the effectiveness of programs like itself, says the Department of Social Services Australia. “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in regional and remote areas do not have adequate access to dental treatment facilities. Compared with the Australian average, Indigenous Australians are about 20 per cent less likely to visit a dentist. Living outside a capital city increases this disadvantage.”

Disproportionately, dental education and access in Australia seems to be most needed among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island women. According to a study by the university of Adelaide, aboriginal women aged fourteen to forty three are six times more likely to need a tooth extraction and twice as likely to need a dental filling than women in the general population. The researchers also found that indigenous women are far more likely to avoid dental visits, because they could not afford them. there are social factors too: Dr. Lisa Jamieson of the university’s Indigenous Oral Health Unit found that almost 90 percent of aboriginal women are unemployed, about a third reported living in a household with five or more people, and nearly fifty percent didn’t own a car.

Jamieson concluded that a major factor in Aboriginals not receiving proper care is that often group visits are not allowed in clinics. “the clinic setting frequently doesn’t allow for group visits but we know that the group is very important to aboriginal women.” Said Jamieson.

The program is part of a longstanding initiative to provide proper healthcare to the almost seven hundred thousand indigenous peoples living in the country. It is believed that programs like this one will embolden and empower these communities to greater rates of employment, security and overall health. Initiatives such as the sugar tax, a controversial punitive tax to large companies selling sugary soft drinks, have brought to the forefront the issues facing the most vulnerable indigenous communities and their myriad health risks.

According to researchers the prevalence of dental disease is as much as five times higher among aboriginal Australians than the general population. An estimated 90 percent of the adult indigenous population suffers from periodontal disease.

These programs are designed to combat the issues facing its aboriginal citizens as a whole. Last year a motion was called asking that fluoride be added to the water of all aboriginal, and an anti-smoking initiative has seen huge gains in the overall health of communities across Australia.

Karen McDonagh is a proud contributing author and write articles on several subjects including Dental CPD. For more information please click and see CPD in Dental Industry .

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