Aim: Remoteness is a significant factor determining the level of basic health, education and infrastructure services to which Aboriginal people have access. This study examines the oral health status and oral health behaviours of Aboriginal people attending rural and remote dental clinics. Methods: Data were collected as part of routine delivery of dental services in five rural and remote dental clinics. Results: The average DMFT score of patients in all the clinics was 8.5 (sd 6.6). Advanced periodontal disease (a CPI score of 3 and/or 4) was present in 60.8% of all patients. Almost 88% of patients had experienced toothache in the previous six months. Almost a third (31.4%) of people could not remember the last time they went to the dentist. Less than half of the people reported brushing their teeth daily (40.4%) with 37.9% cleaning occasionally. A total of 52.4% of patients identified themselves as a ‘smoker’ of tobacco products. Past smokers accounted for 10.5% of the participants. The most common self-reported reason for visiting the clinic was for ‘hole in tooth/fillings required’ (37.4%), followed by ‘pain/urgent problem’ (24.8%). Conclusions: This study emphasises the urgent need for the development of strategies targeting Aboriginal oral health, both as stand alone, and as part of a multifactorial risk factor approach where oral health is integral to general health activities.
|Journal||International Dental Journal|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|