A new dental report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that most children had visited a dentist during the previous 12 months.
The report, Trends in access to dental care among Australian children, covered the period from 1994 to 2005, and showed that at least 4 in 5 children had visited a dentist in the last 12 months with children aged 5-11 years slightly more likely to visit than those aged 12-17.
'The percentage of older children (aged 12-17) who saw a private dentist remained steady at about 55%,' said Professor John Spencer of the AIHW's Dental Statistics and Research Unit.
'But among 5-11 year olds, there was a sharp increase in the percentage who saw a private practice dentist. The percentage increased from 40% in 2002 to 53% in 2005, reflecting a decline in the use of the School Dental Service,' he said.
Between 1996 and 2005, visiting for a check-up, rather than a problem, increased across both age groups, peaking in 2005 at 78% for 5-11 year olds and 81% for 12-17 year olds.
A higher percentage of children in families with a health care card and without private dental insurance visited for a problem.
When visiting a dentist, approximately 8% of 5-11 year olds had a tooth extracted. Among 12-17 year olds, prevalence fluctuated between a high of 15% in 1994 to a low of 9% in 2005.
Children who visited for a problem were more than twice as likely to have an extraction as those who usually visited for a check-up.
About 30% of children aged 5-11 years and 25% of children aged 12-17 years had a filling.
Cost was reported by a low percentage of families as a barrier in accessing dental care for children, with the percentage falling over the 1994-2005 period.
'Cost is not a substantial barrier to children visiting a dentist because of free or heavily subsidised School Dental Services in most States and Territories,' Professor Spencer said.
We'd love to know any feedback that you have about the AIHW website, its contents or reports.
The browser you are using to browse this website is outdated and some features may not display properly or be accessible to you. Please use a more recent browser for the best user experience.