The University of Adelaide and the Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health (ARCPOH) has recently published their joint study into Australia’s oral health status. Data was obtained from approximately 15,000 adults over the age of 15 living in all parts of the country.

Tooth decay on the rise

The study, titled The National Study of Adult Oral Health 2017-2018 has confirmed that the oral health of Australians is still on a decline with at least 33% of adults reported to be leaving their tooth decay and cavities untreated.

The average amount of tooth decay among Australian adults was 1.4 tooth surfaces. Researchers also found that 20% of Australians experienced toothaches.

Key findings in the oral health study of Australian adults 2017-2018

  • Tooth loss – 11% wear a denture, 5.6% have had a dental implant, & the average number of missing teeth was 5.7.
  • Tooth decay – 1% have untreated tooth decay, average of 1.4 tooth surfaces affected by tooth decay, 77.4% have more than 1 filling, 10% have never experienced tooth decay.
  • Gum disease – The prevalence of gum disease (periodontitis) increases with age in the Australian adult population. Adults aged over 75 had six times the prevalence of periodontitis that those aged between 15 and 34 years.
  • Tooth enamel – Levels of tooth enamel wear were strongly correlated with age progression.
  • Gender – Females had more fillings and experienced less tooth decay and gum disease than males.
  • City vs Country – Australian adults residing outside of major cities experienced more tooth decay and gum disease than city dwellers.
  • Education – Australians adults with a degree or higher qualification experienced 50% less tooth decay than those with lesser or no qualifications.
  • Insurance – Uninsured Australian adults experienced 1.5 times more tooth & root decay than the dentally insured.
  • Financial – 40% of Australian adults delay or avoid dental treatment due to cost.