Tuesday, 20 March 2018
World Oral Health Day
That the Senate—
(a) notes that 20 March is World Oral Health Day, a day to promote good oral hygiene practices to adults and children around the world, and acknowledge the importance of good oral health in maintaining general health and well-being;
(b) acknowledges the publication today, Australia's Children and Young People Oral Health Tracker, placing Australia as the first country in the world to have established clear and measurable oral health targets;
(c) expresses concern that:
(i) close to a third of children (5 to 10 years old) have untreated tooth decay, and almost half of Australian children had not visited a dentist before their fifth birthday,
(ii) almost half of adults have not had a check-up in the last 12 months; 90 per cent of adults have suffered from tooth decay, and approximately 1 in 5 Australians have gum disease, and
(iii) three in four Australian children and nearly 50 per cent of adults are consuming too much sugar;
(d) recognises that cost is a major barrier to access to dental care across the community, and that the lower a person's income, the more likely they are to have chronic oral health problems;
(e) further notes that oral diseases can impact every aspect of life, from personal relationships and self-confidence to school, work, housing and even enjoying food, as well as having very serious health consequences, like leading to low birth weight and premature babies and increased risk of heart disease; and
(f) calls on the Government to invest in, and promote the availability of, Medicare-funded dental care to ensure every Australian has access to the oral health care they need.
The government does not support this motion as the funding and provision of public dental services is primarily the responsibility of state and territory governments. We are committed to the Child Dental Benefits Schedule, which will enable around three million Australian children to access $1,000 worth of treatments each every two years. This is in addition to our $242.5 million national partnership agreement to support the states and territories to deliver additional $400,000 in adult public dental services until June 2019.