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. Several factors contribute towards the poorer oral health of Indigenous children, including social disadvantage and lack of access to appropriate diet and dental services.
For the past 10 years, the Australian Government has helped fund oral health services for Indigenous children aged under 16 in the Northern Territory. The Northern Territory Remote Aboriginal Investment Oral Health Program (NTRAI OHP) complements the Northern Territory Government Child Oral Health Program, by providing 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 from July 2012 to December 2018, and includes long-term analyses for 2009–2018.