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Findings from the most comprehensive National Oral Health Survey released

Findings from the most comprehensive National Oral Health Survey released

The National Child Oral Health Study 2012-2014 is the first population-based survey of its kind in Australia for 25 years, involving data from more than 24,000 children aged 5-14 years in each state and territory. This study is one of the biggest and most comprehensive of its kind in the world, providing important insights into the trends occurring in child oral health and behaviours of Australian children and families.

Research indicated that tooth decay affected a significant proportion of children:

  • Over 40 per cent of Australian children and 37.5% of  NSW children aged five–10 years had decay in their primary teeth
  • About one quarter of children in that same age group had never received treatment for their tooth decay amongst Australia and NSW children
  • On average, Australian and NSW children aged five–10 had 1.5 primary teeth with decay
  • The prevalence of dental caries in the permanent dentition of children aged 6-14 from   NSW (20.6%) was lower than the national prevalence of 23.5%.
  • The average number of untreated decayed surfaces in the permanent dentition was similar to NSW and Australian children at 0.2

The survey found that results were highly dependent on socio-economic status and varied widely across states and territories. NSW children had on average lower scores in both their primary and permanent dentition when compared with the Australian child population. However the prevalence of untreated decay in NSW children was similar to the Australian children.

With regards to patterns of dental service, the standout difference between states and territories was the proportion who visited a private practice. Almost three quarters of NSW children visited a private practice compared with the national estimate of 56.8%.

The prevalence of tooth decay was similar to other comparable countries, such as the United States and New Zealand, but the prevalence of untreated decay was somewhat higher in Australia.

Click here to view the electronic edition of Oral health of Australian children: The National Child Oral Health Study 2012–14.