ADA calls on new Prime Minister to act on dental health

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Although he has been in the job for merely a few days, the Australian Dental Association [ADA] has called upon Australia’s new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to place increased focus on the importance of dental health. The ADA believes that this pressing issue has not been granted the attention it deserves on a federal level in recent years, and hopes to meet with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues in the near future.

A number of sectors of the community require some form of assistance to access dental care, with the ADA noting that in its pre-budget submission to the government earlier this year it prepared a targeted national oral plan for Australian pensioners, which would provide them with $1000 of dental treatment every two years, following the model of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule.

“Oral diseases including dental decay, gum disease and oral cancer are chronic and the aged are particularly susceptible and affected,” said the ADA’s president Dr Rick Olive. “The prevalence of oral diseases among people over the age of 65 years is significantly higher for the general population.” Recent research indicates a link between periodontitis and other systemic diseases including osteoporosis, respiratory disease, aspirational pneumonia and some cancers, with poor oral health a risk factor.

The ADA believes its proposal is a fiscally responsible solution for this group of the population given the impacts of poor oral health on their general health creates a significant – yet avoidable – cost burden on government.

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