Indigenous Australian dental health: A brief review of caries experience

N. Martin-Iverson, T. Pacza, Andriana Phatouros, Marc Tennant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The indigenous community in Australia is an at risk population for oral diseases such as dental caries. The majority of communities are isolated and dental services in these areas are limited. Oral hygiene standards are poor acid this combined with a diet rich in refined carbohydrates has led to high incidences of dental caries. In addition, diabetes, which is related to obesity (and a diet high in sugar and fat) has been linked to increases in oral disease. Caries prevalence was found to be low in areas where fluoridation levels in the water were high. The fact that the fluoride supplementation appears to improve oral health to a significant degree suggests that implementation of fluoride treatment programmes for school children and, where viable, fluoridation of water sources would be appropriate. In addition, dental education programmes should receive high priority. As with the rest of the community, these preventive measures will result in less need for emergency dental treatment in the future, better oral health for the community and reduced financial burden on the State. It is under these circumstances that oral health planners and providers must, in consultation with the relevant community representatives, develop appropriate mechanisms to address the needs of this group. The development of strategies that integrate with the plethora of general health strategies currently being implemented is just one means of achieving improved oral health outcomes for indigenous Australians.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-20
JournalAustralian Dental Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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