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Dental decay linked to chronic diseases - the case for action

December 8, 2011

Studies show that poor dental health is connected to major chronic diseases. A report released today by Dental Health Services Victoria explains how dental health is linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory illnesses, stroke, dementia and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

The report, “Links between oral health and general health – the case for action”, is based on a literature review that examined the connection between oral health status and major chronic diseases.

The report states that:

  • Dental decay is the second most costly diet-related disease in Australia with an economic impact comparable with heart disease and diabetes.
  • Poor oral health is significantly associated with major chronic illnesses.
  • Poor oral health causes disability.
  • Oral health issues and major diseases share common risk factors.
  • General health problems may cause or worsen oral health conditions.

Dental Health Services Victoria CEO, Dr Deborah Cole presented the report to the National Advisory Council on Dental Health in November. Dr Cole said it is time that people realised the impact of poor oral health on the community.

“Oral health can no longer be ignored. We have to protect natural teeth from decay and disease because these diseases are not limited to the mouth, they affect people’s general health and wellbeing,” Dr Cole said.

Dr Cole supports a universal dental scheme that will increase the community’s access to dental care.

“People who are struggling financially can’t afford to see a private dentist and the public system has long waiting lists. We know oral health is linked to general health. We know that poor oral health is costing the Australian economy more that $1.3 billion a year. A universal dental scheme will help people get the care that they need, when they need it,” Dr Cole said.

Download Links between oral health and general health - the case for action ( PDF, 1.36MB)

Dr Deborah Cole is available for interview.

Media enquiries:
Jacqui McCallum, Tel: (03) 9341 1361, Mob: 0404 137 102
Lisa Fairweather, Tel. (03) 9341 1134, Mob. 0402 373 585

Related links:

News: Dental reform welcomed but continued support needed for people with chronic diseases