Dental Care For Low Income People In Australia

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Affordable Dental Care

At least 500,000 low income Australians are on waiting lists for public dental care, said the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) as it released a report on the state of dental care.

ACOSS President Lin Hatfield Dodds said:

"While many people have trouble affording dental care, low income Australians are most likely to go without treatment because they can not get public services or afford private services," said ACOSS President Lin Hatfield Dodds. "As a first step, ACOSS calls on the Federal Government to ensure that all people on concession cards have a free basic course of dental care every 2 years. This preventative health measure would help improve the poor oral health of people on low incomes and lessen the number of tooth extractions and more expensive treatments needed."

ACOSS Executive Director Andrew Johnson said:

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"It is unfair that in good economic times, many low income Australians can not afford to get their teeth fixed. High costs for private dental care and long waiting lists for public dental care is leading people to put off dental treatment and instead they suffer in pain," said ACOSS Director Andrew Johnson.

"Federal and State governments agreed on a National Oral Health Plan in 2004 which would improve access to dental services. Since then, new investment by State, Territory and Commonwealth Governments has been too low to make a significant impact. With a large Federal Budget surplus, now is the time for more resources to be put into implementing this plan so people can fix their teeth when they need it."

Fair Dental Care Report statistics:

The ACOSS report, Fair Dental Care, states that Australians most likely to be in pain and unable to access dental treatment are single parents, people on low incomes, people living in nursing homes, older people, people living in rural and remote areas and Indigenous people. People with poor dental health have difficulty eating and speaking and often have to suffer avoidable health problems such as tooth loss or gum disease.

Other statistics from Fair Dental Care include:

  • About 500,000 people are on waiting lists around Australia for general dental care from public dental services

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