The indigenous population of Australia constitutes approximately 2 per cent of the total population. This group has faced significant cultural, economic and health changes since European settlement some 200 years ago. In this brief review some of the health changes that have influenced the oral health status of this community have been examined. Of major importance is the dietary change that the once nomadic indigenous community has undergone. Today's Western diet, high in sugar, low in proteins and vitamins, has resulted in a significant increase in the risk (and prevalence) of caries and periodontal disease. In addition, the high prevalence of diabetes also exacerbates the periodontal of Australian indigenous communities from modern health care services and limited access to fluoridation increases the incidence of oral disease. It is also noted that the incidence of rheumatic heart disease is one of the highest in the world, thereby increasing the risk of bacterial endocarditis. It is clear that indigenous communities have unique oral health needs but the extent of these needs is not well documented. It is important that more research be undertaken to assess these needs so that appropriate oral health programmes can be developed.
|Journal||Australian Dental Journal|
|Publication status||Published - 1999|