Would you pull out a tooth with a set of pliers? Or use your holiday leave to travel to Cambodia to get cheap dental care?
90% of Australian adults and 40% of children have experienced tooth decay (Australian Dental Association)
The Grattan Institute reports on average adults earning less than $30k a year, will have 8.6 teeth missing, but those on $140k only 3.2 teeth missing.
And it’s not only a lack of teeth you should be worried about, poor oral health can be a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Two million of us avoid or delay going to the dentist because we can’t afford it.
If we see the GP Medicare covers most, if not all the cost, so why not the dentist?
Public dental health services are inadequate to cover the need, with some reports saying it can be up to a 20 month wait for an appointment, and by then the tooth that could have been saved has to be extracted.
The Grattan report estimates dental check-ups and early intervention procedures would cost the government $5.6bn a year.
A universal dental care scheme is a long-term vision, but we shouldn’t extract our mouths from better health care.
In the meantime, consider your oral health:
- Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Drink tap water, not bottled water, as it contains fluoride.
- And limit sugary drinks and foods.