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Int Dent J. 2001 Jun;51(3 Suppl):188-99.

Geriatric oral health issues in Australia.

Author information

  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Dental Statistics and Research Unit, The University of Adelaide, South Australia. jane.chalmers@adelaide.edu.au



To identify and discuss geriatric oral health issues in Australia.


A discussion of the demographic trends, oral health trends, and barriers to dental care for older Australians is presented, together with a review of Australian public and private sector geriatric dental services, geriatric dental research, and geriatric dental education.


Key geriatric oral health issues for Australia include: edentulism is decreasing and older Australians are retaining more natural teeth; coronal and root caries are significant problems, especially as older adults become more functionally dependent, cognitively impaired, and medically compromised; the oral health status of institutionalised older Australians is poor; the onset of severe oral diseases appears to occur in many older Australians prior to their institutionalisation, when they are homebound and dependent upon carers; carers of older adults do not have access to practical education about dental care; the majority of older Australians are eligible to use public-funded dental services, but barriers limit their access to these services; few Australian public or private dental services are designed with a geriatric focus; geriatric dental education does not have a high profile in Australian dental schools; no specialty exists in Australia for geriatric dentistry, nor is there a national geriatric dentistry association.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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