The impact of declining tooth loss on oral health status and dental care utilisation [ 2003 - 2005 ]

Also known as: The impact of declining tooth loss

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof David Brennan (Principal investigator) ,  Prof Kaye Roberts-Thomson Prof A. John Spencer

Brief description Improved oral health has been well documented in Australia. Over recent decades the average number of decayed teeth among children has decreased. Among adults, the percentage with no natural teeth has also exhibited a decrease over time. While increased retention of natural teeth is an indicator of improved oral health status within the population, there may be some unexpected consequences of this success. Improved oral health has been associated with increased rather then decreased use of services. Improvements in oral health manifested in the form of greater tooth retention, coupled with demographic trends towards growth in the population, may lead to an increased risk of oral disease with flow on effects on need and demand for care. Findings from one cross-sectional study in the USA have shown that people who retained higher numbers of teeth had more periodontal disease and dental caries experience, and reported a past pattern of visiting the dentist more frequently. The specific aims of this project are to examine the association of the number of natural teeth among middle-aged Australians with their oral health status, treatment needs and subsequent use of dental services. The outcome of this project will provide answers to two research questions. Firstly, it will see whether the retention of more teeth among adults is associated with higher levels of oral disease. Secondly, by following people over time it will be able to detect whether those who are retaining more teeth into adult age ranges have higher levels of use of dental services than their counterparts with fewer teeth. The answers to both of these research questions has significance for policy and planning in the area of dental public health by providing evidence as to the size and direction of expected future demand for and use of dental services in Australia.

Funding Amount $AUD 144,375.00

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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