Oral health is an important component of overall health and quality of life. Poor oral health can affect adults and children alike, causing pain, embarrassment, and even social marginalisation. For children, the effects can be long term and carry through to adulthood.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are more likely than non-Indigenous children to experience tooth decay. A number of factors contribute towards the poorer oral health of Indigenous children in general, such as poverty, social disadvantage, diet and lack of access to dental services.
For the past 10 years, the Australian Government has helped fund oral health services for Indigenous children under the age of 16 in the Northern Territory. The Northern Territory Remote Aboriginal Investment Oral Health Program (NTRAI OHP) provides preventive (application of full-mouth fluoride varnish and fissure sealants) and clinical (tooth extractions, diagnostics, restorations and examinations) services.
This report presents data from the NTRAI OHP for 2017, and includes long-term analyses from 2009 to 2017.