Report of the National Advisory Council on Dental Health

Appendix B - Principles

The National Advisory Council on Dental Health (the Council) was established as a time-limited group to provide strategic, independent advice on dental health issues, as requested by Minister for Health and Ageing, to the Government. The Council’s priority task was to provide advice on dental policy options and priorities for consideration in the 2012-13 Budget.

Page last updated: 03 September 2012

      In providing advice to the Commonwealth Government on dental health issues, the National Advisory Council on Dental Health recognises certain guiding principles.

      • Oral health is an important part of general health, well–being and quality of life and should be considered in the context of broader health reform.
      • Oral disease has implications for the day–to–day life of the individual and results in economic costs to the community due to reduced social and economic participation and broader costs to the health system.
      • Oral health promotion will be an integral part of improving health across the population.
      • Child oral health is a vital foundation for lifelong oral health.
      • Equitable access to appropriate, timely and affordable services is important for preventing oral disease and improving oral health across the population as well as managing infection and pain and restoring function, noting there is a very significant lack of access for some groups, particularly low income groups and regional and remote populations.
      • Available resources should first focus on these groups via targeted approaches for prevention, early intervention and management of established disease.
      • Targeted approaches should appropriately address the differing oral health needs of children and adults, and other groups such as the aged, the disabled, Indigenous Australians, and people with chronic conditions.
      • Jurisdictions and other sectors have particular roles and responsibilities in the funding and delivery of oral health services:
      • - the Commonwealth through leadership and funding; the states and territories through funding and public sector service delivery, training and education; and the private and non–government sectors through service delivery.
      • Dental educational institutions have a particular role in the education of the oral health workforce, including through the provision of dental services.
      • Improvements in access to appropriate oral health services will involve improvements in the dental workforce, including the capacity and better utilisation of dental practitioners, and the geographic distribution of services.
      • Expansion in dental infrastructure will lead to improvements in access to dental health services.
      • Regular undertakings of data collection, research, and evaluation of dental programs will help to identify gaps in service provision and will help to improve understanding of the oral health status of Australians.