In Australian states and territories, we are lucky to enjoy high dental standards. I know that our universal healthcare strangely does not consider our teeth to be a part of our bodies, but we still enjoy a great dental service, even if we have to pay for it. Medicare does have a Chronic Disease Dental Scheme (CDDS), which can pay up to $4250 in benefits over 24 months for people with a chronic medical condition. The Commonwealth Dental Health Program is the Australian Government’s latest initiative and it wants to close the CDDS to fund it. There is disagreement about whether it will achieve what it claims it will – helping 600 000 Australians get subsidised dental care.
High Dental Standards Maintained In Victoria
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) and the Opposition have both publicly damned this new dental program, saying it is “smoke and mirrors”. The ADA claim that it is actually a reduction in federal government spending on dentistry by around $200 million. In Victoria, their Dental Health Services (DHSV) provide children 12 years and under with free dental care, 13 to 17 YOs who are health care concession holders or dependents of a health care concession or pensioner card holders with dental care, and subsidised dental care for adults seeking emergency dental care who are in financial need, homeless, pregnant, refugees, disabled, mentally ill and/or Aboriginal and Torres Islanders.
The high dental standards maintained in Victoria go a long way to ensuring that health standards in general remain optimal. Our teeth impact heavily upon the rest of our health, bad teeth and teeth problems can quickly turn into serious disease. The DHSV report that 4 in every 100 children in the age group 0-4 years are being hospitalised for dental decay. Experts are worried about the low levels of oral health literacy in the population. Dr Deborah Cole, the CEO of DHSV has expressed her concern about increasing oral health issues negatively affecting the health and wellbeing of Victorians. She is worried about the lack of programs properly caring for low income families and the history of disjointed short-term programs.
Dental care in Australia is better than in many other nations around the globe, but things can always be improved, especially at the lower socio-economic levels. For those that can afford regular dental care, we have a high standard of dental services in all the major cities and towns around the country. Recommended Melbourne dentists always say: “Remember to brush your teeth at least twice a day and visit your local dentist for regular check-ups.”