Rising cost of dental care contributing to poor oral health in Australia

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A recent report has revealed that a significant proportion of people in Australia are postponing or cancelling dental appointments because they cannot afford to pay for treatment.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) survey established that 30 percent of Australians reported that they had postponed dental treatment and 20 percent of people had not taken their dentist’s advice and gone for recommended treatment due of the price.

The survey also revealed that 80 percent of people believe they have good oral health and 20 percent believe they have poor oral health. Dr Jane Harford, a spokeswoman from the AIHW, said that was a positive correlation between oral health and socioeconomic factors, with poorer people generally having lower standards of oral health.

According to Dr Harford, oral health problems are prevalent amongst people who have low standards of education, poor employment history and a low income. Poorer people struggle to afford the price of routine dental care, let alone more complex treatments and many avoid going to the dentist in case they get told that they need a complex, expensive treatment.

Oral health is a topical subject in Australia, with many people revealing that they find it difficult to access a dentist even if they can afford treatment. Many regions have a shortage of dentists and dentists and patient groups have complained about the government’s handling of oral healthcare for many years now. The new coalition government has vowed to improve access to dental care and make care more affordable for those on a low wage and those without insurance.

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