The oral health status and treatment needs of Indigenous adults in the Kimberly region of Western Australia

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Objective: The oral health of Indigenous Australians, whether urban or rural, is significantly poorer than their non-Indigenous counterparts, and it would be expected that the oral health of rural and remote Indigenous Australians would be particularly poor, although the extent of this extra disadvantage has not been thoroughly documented. The aim of this study was to assess the oral health status and oral health needs in a sample of adult residents of selected towns and remote communities in the Kimberley region of North-west Australia.Design: A cross-sectional survey (dental examinations and oral health questionnaires) was carried out.Setting: Rural and remote communities in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.Participants: Adults in four selected communities.Results: The mean Decayed, Missing and Filled Teeth (DMFT) score for all participants was 9.8 (SD 8.3). The mean DMFT increased with increasing age. Only 7.3% of people were caries-free. A total of 13% of participants had periodontal pockets of 6 mm or more, and only 3% had no periodontal disease. More than a third (37%) of all participants had advanced periodontal disease. Only 21% of participants did not need any dental treatment.Conclusions: The oral health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are listed as one of the priority areas of Australia's National Oral Health Plan. Based on the above results, oral health is clearly an important priority in the Kimberley.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-289
JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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