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NSW Public Health Bulletin archive

The oral health of adults in NSW, 2004–06 Volume 20 Issue 3-4

Shanti Sivaneswaran

New South Wales Public Health Bulletin 20(4) 46–51 Published online: 27 April 2009

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Shanti Sivaneswaran


Abstract: Objectives: The was Australia’s second oral examination survey of a nationally representative sample of adults. The aim of this paper is to provide a brief overview of oral health in the NSW adult population from the findings of the survey. Methods: A three-stage, stratified, clustered sampling design was used to select NSW residents aged 15 years and over. Self-reported information about oral health was obtained through telephone interviews. People with natural teeth were offered clinical examinations. Results: 3630 people were interviewed and 1099 underwent a clinical examination. Only 5.5% of the study population were edentulous (all natural teeth missing) compared with the national estimate of 6.4%. The Decayed, Missing, Filled Teeth (DMFT) caries severity index was 12.8, equal to that of the Australian population; prevalence of untreated decay was 27.1%, which was not significantly different to the national estimate of 25.5%. Some 60.3% of the NSW survey sample had visited a dentist within the last 12 months (nationally 59.4%) and 56.8% visited for a check-up (56.2% nationally). Oral health, use of dental services and perceptions of need varied significantly by geographic location, private insurance patronage and eligibility for public dental care. Conclusions: The oral health of the NSW adult population and patterns of dental care are similar to that estimated nationally. The prevalence and severity of dental diseases and oral health behaviours are influenced by social and geographic factors.