ADA launches new oral health consensus statement

oral health consensus statement
Photo: tepikina 123rf

An all-new oral consensus statement for Australia was recently launched by the Australian Dental Association at Parliament House in Canberra. 

In 2009, a working group established by the National Oral Health Promotion Clearing House at The Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health, University of Adelaide, developed a consensus statement on oral health messages for the Australian public. The consensus statement was highly effective, and enabled a focused and strategic approach to oral health promotion in Australia.

However, in the many years since the statement was put together, the evidence base underpinning oral health promotion in Australia has developed markedly, and therefore an update of the consensus statement was needed.

The statistics on public oral health in Australia also pointed to an increased need for a focused and strategic approach to oral health promotion, to deliver consistent, evidence-based oral health messages across different states and sectors. 

The ADA took the lead in updating this consensus statement, working with the Melbourne Dental School at the University of Melbourne. The Melbourne Dental School started by putting together a collaborative expert group, which then worked to update key oral health messages for the Australian public.

The Oral Health Messages were launched on the first day of Dental Health Week at a Parliamentary Breakfast with the intention of advocating for stakeholders to consider the barriers to improved oral health in Australia, and to recognise the largely preventable nature of oral health conditions. These messages serve as a framework for health practitioners and health promoters to use in confidence of the evidence base supporting them and the consensus reached by the oral health professionals advising the process.

“It’s so exciting to have a consolidated framework for oral health promotive messages that meet the requirements of the Australian public, facilitate discussions around oral health care and support preventive treatment options,” ADA Oral Health Committee chair Dr Mihiri Silva said.

“I think advocacy is also a really fundamental part of these consensus statements. Because I think we were able to bring a good evidence-based approach for the importance of oral health as a benefit of prevention, it should bring a clear message that we should be investing in prevention in terms of government policy, funding, even just how services are structured. 

“These key messages should help ensure that prevention is recognised for the real, fundamental part it plays in making sure people have good oral health, as well as overall health and wellbeing.

“The statement will hopefully empower people in the community, as well as people who are advocates for oral health, of course—dental practitioners and clinicians, researchers and academics—to come together and promote oral health to those who take the decisions in forming policies and health services in Australia.”

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