Monday, November 19, 2018

Victoria’s hidden health crisis now in the spotlight - making dental health a priority

A new report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is a timely reminder of the importance of good oral health as politicians debate dental policy in the lead-up to this weekend’s Victorian State election. Governments, both state and federal, still have a long way to go to help improve community oral health.

The Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch (ADAVB) has consistently advocated for increased public dental care funding and better access to dental care for vulnerable Victorians. Why is this important? Nationally, over 70,000 hospitalisations due to dental conditions occurred in 2016-17, with almost 17,000 of these hospitalisations in Victoria. These could have been prevented with earlier access to dental care. Tooth decay is also the leading cause of preventable hospitalisations in children under the age of five. Alarmingly, the number of children aged under nine years requiring a general anaesthetic for dental treatment dramatically increased to 2200 in 2017/18, up 39 per cent since 2013/14. Add to this the estimated cost of poor oral health to Victoria exceeding $200 million each year and the need for further action cannot be ignored.

National figures also show that oral health tends to deteriorate as people get older. That’s why it’s so important that people of all ages who need public dental care can gain timely access.

The AIHW report highlighted that dental diseases can affect overall health in so many profound ways – the ability to eat, speak, go to school or work, and cause pain, embarrassment, loss of sleep and social exclusion. They can also exacerbate chronic conditions, including stroke, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

Dr Kevin Morris, ADAVB President, said, “Poor oral health is having a huge impact on our community and our health system. Regular preventive dental care is a key factor in tackling this problem. ADAVB has played a significant role in putting dental health at the forefront of policy debate during this election campaign by shining the spotlight on public dental waiting lists, which now exceed 20 months on average. Sustained investment is needed to ensure that vulnerable Victorians don’t miss out on much needed care.”

In the lead up to this weekend’s State election, the ADAVB is urging all political parties to commit to doubling the number of public dental patients treated annually within five years, so that more eligible Victorians can access the care that they need, when they need it.

·        AIHW 2018: Oral Health and Dental Care in Australia: web report 19 November 2018. Cat No. 231. Canberra: AIHW. Available at  Oral health and dental care in Australia

Dr Kevin Morris, ADAVB President                          
A/Prof Matt Hopcraft, ADAVB CEO
Tel: 8825 4600

Sunday, November 18, 2018

ADAVB welcomes increased focus from Labor on child dental health

The Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch (ADAVB) cautiously welcomes the election pledge from the Labor party that promises to provide free dental care at all public primary and secondary schools throughout Victoria.

“Measures that ensure more children have access to dental care are certainly welcome. However, we are uncertain at this stage how this scheme will work in conjunction with the federally funded Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) that already provides up to $1000 over two years for children aged 2-17 years, whose families receive Family Tax Benefit A. The CDBS can currently be accessed at the family’s choice of dental health care provider in both the public and private sector,” said ADAVB President, Dr Kevin Morris.

This new school dental scheme may impact children who already have care provided by their regular family dentist. “Continuity of care is a critical part of any health care system, and parents should be able to maintain a choice of provider, as they currently can with the CDBS," Dr Morris said. “It is important that families can continue to visit their existing dentist under this new scheme,” he said.

Regular visits to the dentist are an important measure for the prevention and early detection of tooth decay and other oral health issues and help to establish healthy behaviours and set the basis for good oral health care into adulthood.

The ADAVB has been advocating for increased funding to tackle public dental waiting lists, with waiting times increasing 70 per cent in the past four years. It’s not clear that this new plan will significantly alleviate pressure on waiting times for adult patients, with resources directed to providing free care for more than 618,000 children in public schools in Victoria.

The ADAVB looks forward to seeing further details of this new plan, and working with the Labor Government, if re-elected, to ensure the school dental scheme provides the best outcomes for all children.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

ADAVB Dentist ergonomics and wellbeing programme

Dentists are at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders due to exposure to awkward positions and repetitive use of small hand tools. The most common regions affected are neck, shoulder and back.

As an exclusive member only benefit, our ADAVB members have free access to the Dentist Wellbeing Ergonomics Programme.

This program that has been designed to help dentists maximise comfort, productivity and overall wellbeing at work, while you are practicing.

The program provides education and instructions on how to set yourself up in the best way, in your treatment space. Some of the topics include clinical area layout, seating, patient position, writing clinical notes and proactive stretching.

Access this program free at

Proudly sponsored by PSA Insurance.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

World Diabetes Day - take part in an important research study

Today is World Diabetes Day. There are 1.7 million Australians living with diabetes and it is now the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia. 280 Australians develop diabetes every day - that’s one person every five minutes.

Diabetes is increasing at a faster rate than other chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. All types of diabetes are increasing in prevalence:

  • Type 1 diabetes accounts for 10% of all diabetes and is increasing
  • Type 2 diabetes accounts for 85% of all diabetes and is increasing
  • Gestational diabetes in pregnancy is increasing.

Despite this, in the oral healthcare setting little is known about the management of patients with diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes or those at risk of diabetes. What is known is early diagnosis and treatment of this disease is critical to improving health outcomes.

Oral health care practitioners are in an important position to identify patients with or at risk of type 2 diabetes. We invite you to take part in this important eviDent research project on screening for type 2 diabetes in the private oral health care setting.

To find out more and register:


Finally, it's a health plan because it includes dental!

The Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch (ADAVB) welcomes the announcement from the Victorian Greens today to invest an additional $160 million into the public dental care system to double the number of eligible people accessing public dental treatment. 

Waiting times for public dental care have increased 70 per cent over the past four years to over 20 months, impacting on the health and well-being of thousands of vulnerable Victorians.

“We have been consistently advocating for a significant boost in funding for public dental care, particularly in the lead-up to the Victorian election, and it is pleasing to see the Victorian Greens acknowledge the importance of oral health,” said ADAVB President Dr Kevin Morris. 

“Only 16 per cent of eligible Victorians are able to access public dental services each year, and this commitment from the Greens will see this number double, going a long way to reducing waiting times and improving oral health in the community.”

ADAVB also welcomes the Greens’ pledge to target sugary foods and drinks, which are a significant contributor to the burden of dental disease in our community.

ADAVB looks forward to working with the next Victorian Government to ensure that additional funding engages both the public and private sector to deliver oral health care that meets the needs of the community.

Dr Kevin Morris
ADAVB President
Tel: 8825 4600

Further information:

Friday, November 09, 2018

ADAVB groups - local knowledge, lasting connections

Are you a part of an ADAVB group? All members are assigned to a group based on practice or home location. Attending group events is a great opportunity to have direct contact with ADAVB councillors and colleagues. It's also a great way to stay connected locally - share advice and benefit from local knowledge and expertise, enjoy socialising and networking and access some great CPD from expert presenters while you're at it!

Four great reasons to get involved:

1. Communication between members and the ADAVB
Get to know your local ADAVB colleagues and ADAVB councillors. A president’s representative attends each group meeting and the ADAVB CEO or president also attend some meetings, depending on availability.

2. A forum to discuss current matters relevant to the profession or your particular region
Feel a sense of belonging with your local association colleagues and gain support from peers that may be experiencing similar issues.

3. Networking and social events with other members in your region
Enjoy getting to know your local colleagues, especially if you are new to the area or new to the profession. It is a great way to network with peers in a relaxed setting and to enjoy some time away from work.

4. Access to continuing professional development (CPD)  
Each group typically holds two to four events per year and these often consist of a presentation or seminar followed by a networking dinner. It’s a great way to earn extra CPD hours and have direct access to expert presenters.

Find out more:

Download information sheet

Contact your local chair

Thursday, November 01, 2018

VOHA - Two and a half million Victorian mouths ignored

“Despite a range of good health measures in the ALP’s election platform, there is still a large hole – public dental care for the 2.5 million Victorians who are eligible” said Tony McBride, Spokesperson for the Victorian Oral Health Alliance (VOHA) today.

“With over 140,000 Victorians currently on public waiting lists for general dental care, a commitment to a significant funding increase is needed to tackle one of the largest inequities in the Victorian health system,” he added.

Good oral health is critical to being able to eat, speak and socialise without pain or embarrassment. One consumer recently interviewed by VOHA said  “If you can put the money into dental…you could really change people’s lives”.

VOHA welcomes the ALP’s commitments to existing dental initiatives. These include reducing the gap in oral health outcomes for people at higher risk of oral disease, increasing dental services for Aboriginal Victorians, continuing to provide public dental care in community health centres and expanding the availability of fluoridated water supplies. But with public dental waiting times now exceeding 20 months, much more needs to be done to provide vulnerable Victorians with the care that they need.

VOHA acknowledges recent cuts to Federal Government funding however this funding cut is only a small part of the overall public dental budget in Victoria, and ultimately the responsibility for public dental care rests with the State Government.

VOHA is urging both levels of government to commit to increasing the target number of patients treated to 800,000 per year by 2023, with an appropriate increase in funding in order to achieve this. This would require an additional $40 million for the 2019/20 budget, which would go a long way to assist with much needed dental care for Victorians.

Download media release

Tony McBride (VOHA Spokesperson)
 0407 531 468

VOHA Members
Anglicare Victoria
Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch (ADAVB)
Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists’ Association Victoria (ADOHTA Vic)
Australian Dental Prosthetists Association (ADPA)
COTA Victoria
Dental Hygienists Association of Australia (DHAA)
Health Issues Centre
North Richmond Community Health
Star Health

Dental care waiting times - Share your story with the Health Issues Centre

With public dental waiting list on the rise in Victoria, the Health Issues Centre and the Victorian Oral Health Alliance want to hear your story and experience about waiting for dental care.

  • In pain and can't sleep?
  • Had to take time off work?
  • Struggling to eat?
  • Had to borrow money to go private?
  • Worried about health and wellbeing?
It's time to take action to put an end to Victoria's oral health crisis.

Share your experience by taking this consumer survey:

Watch the video above and share it with your friends, family and colleagues on Facebook.

More information:

Health Issues Centre (HIC)
The HIC supports and inform consumers and the health sector to partner for health care improvements. The HIC supports and informs health services to involve and learn from their consumers. They contribute to policy and debate to encourage a more equitable and partnership-based health system. 

Facebook page: @healthissuescentre

Victorian Oral Health Alliance (VOHA)
VOHA is an alliance of professional, consumer and community and dental service organisations. VOHA believes the current average waiting time for general care in Victoria of almost 20 months is grossly unfair. VOHA is committed to advocating for a more equitable and effective public dental system.

Friday, October 12, 2018

New data reveals alarming increase in number of children receiving dental treatment under general anaesthetic

An increasing number of Victorian children are requiring hospitalisation to treat preventable dental problems, with new data accessed by the Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch (ADAVB) revealing the devastating impact that poor oral health is having on vulnerable children.

Data obtained by the ADAVB under Freedom of Information shows that the number of children requiring a general anaesthetic for dental treatment provided through public dental services has dramatically increased. More than 2200 children aged 0-9 years required a general anaesthetic in 2017/18, an increase of 13 per cent over the past 12 months, and 39 per cent since 2013/14.

ADAVB President and public dentist Dr Kevin Morris said, “It is deeply concerning that over 2900 children aged 0-17 years required a general anaesthetic in 2017/ 18 to have more than 10,194 teeth extracted as well as thousands of fillings. Children aged 0-9 age years fared the worst, making up the majority (76 per cent) of cases, and accounting for an average of four teeth extracted per child.”

“Some children as young as 2-3 years old are having all their baby teeth removed, leaving them without any teeth for years before their adult teeth come through. Baby teeth are very important. They enable children to chew food and speak properly, and they reserve the spaces in gum tissue for future adult teeth. You can only imagine the devastating impact these extractions have on their health and nutrition, and their social and emotional well-being,” Dr Morris said.

Tooth decay is entirely preventable, with excess added sugar consumption a major contributing factor. Regular and early dental attendance is also important to help prevent dental disease.