August 2014 Commonwealth of Australia 2014



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Dental visiting patterns of populations identified for specific action


Information above indicates the different populations identified for specific action have different oral health outcomes. Further information was examined to compare the dental visiting patterns of the specific populations for action with the dental visiting pattern of the total population. Different data sources were used for children compared with the other identified populations. Due to data limitations, the dental visiting patterns of people with special needs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were not able to be examined.

Using the information available, existing utilisation patterns for the specific populations for action were identified, and this was then translated into an expressed demand rate and projected into the future based on population projections from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) population series B (ABS Cat No. 3222.0, Population Projections, Australia).


Children (aged two to 12 years)


For children, data on the number of public oral health services provided to children aged two to 12 years over the period 2009 to 2012 (existing utilisation) was supplied to HWA by New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia. Using this as a basis, a national expressed demand rate of oral health services for all children aged two to 12 years was extrapolated. This was calculated to be 0.37 services per person per annum.

Data analysis also showed that children aged two to six years and children aged seven to 12 years had different oral health utilisation patterns, with those aged seven to 12 years accessing a greater number of services. This likely reflects the availability of publicly provided school dental schemes.

As a result, separate expressed demand rates (using the data of the three jurisdictions as a basis, again extrapolated to a national rate) were calculated for those aged two to six years, and those aged seven to 12 years. The calculated rates were:


Figure 7 shows the projected number of services per person (expressed demand) for children aged two to six years, seven to twelve years and two to 12 years (total) to 2025. It clearly shows the different expressed demand rates for each of the age groups. A future consideration will be any impact of recent investments in child services, such as the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (refer Appendix C).

Please note, the expressed demand rates were projected into the future based on population projections for the relevant age ranges (using ABS population series B).

Figure : Projected number of services per person, by age, 2012 to 2025

in all 3 categories, the number of services per person increases steadily between 2012 and 2025, from around 0.25 to 0.3 services per person in 2-6 year olds, 0.45 to 0.51 for 7-12 year olds, and 0.38 to 0.42 overall.

Please note, while Australia’s National Oral Health Plan 2004 – 2013 identified children and adolescents as the population for specific action, which generally encompasses those aged two to 17 years, data was not available on services provided to those aged 13 to 17 years. Therefore the expressed demand projection was restricted to children aged two to 12 years.


Other populations identified for specific action


For the other populations identified for specific action, information from the 2010 ARCPOH NDTIS was used to identify utilisation patterns, which was then translated into an expressed demand rate and projected into the future based on population projections.

Older people


Expressed demand for oral health services for those aged 65 years and over is estimated to be 2.16 services per person, compared with a demand rate of 2.85 services per person for the total population.

This was calculated using data on the number of services accessed by those aged 65 years and over from the 2010 ARCPOH NDTIS, with this rate being held constant throughout the projection period.

This rate was projected into the future based on population projections (for those aged 65 years and over) from the ABS population projection series B.

Low income and social disadvantage


The National Oral Health Plan 2004 – 2013 identified improving the oral health of people with low income and at social disadvantage as a specific action area. To be able to generate an expressed demand rate for this population, HWA used 2010 ARCPOH NDTIS data on the number of services categorised by Socioeconomic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) Index of Relative Socioeconomic Advantage and Disadvantage (IRSAD) quintiles, where quintiles 1 and 2 were used to represent those people with low income and at social disadvantage.

The SEIFA IRSAD is produced by the ABS, and classifies areas of Australia by socioeconomic status. It is a general socioeconomic index that summarises a range of information about the economic and social conditions of people and households within an area, such as income, level of education, occupation, level of unemployment and dwelling type.

For this project, the number of oral health services accessed were examined by SEIFA IRSAD quintiles, and ranked by the socioeconomic status from the most disadvantaged (lowest quintile) to most advantaged (highest quintile).

Expressed demand for oral health services for those with low income and at social disadvantage, represented by the number of services categorised in IRSAD quintiles 1 and 2, was estimated to be 1.8 services per person, compared with 3.9 services per person for IRSAD quintiles 3, 4 and 5. This rate was held constant throughout the projection period. It was projected into the future based on population projections from the ABS population projection series B (with the proportion of people living in those areas included in IRSAD quintiles 1 and 2 being applied to the population projections).

Figure 8 shows expressed demand as the number of services per person for the total population compared with those most disadvantaged (IRSAD quintiles 1 and 2) and those more advantaged (IRSAD quintiles 3, 4 and 5). It can clearly be seen those most disadvantaged receive fewer services per person than those more advantaged, and the total population.

Figure : Projected number of services per person, by IRSAD quintiles, 2012 to 2025



figure 8 shows expressed demand as the number of services per person for the total population compared with those most disadvantaged (irsad quintiles 1 and 2) and those more advantaged (irsad quintiles 3, 4 and 5). it shows that those most disadvantaged receive fewer services per person than those more advantaged and the total population.

People living in rural and remote areas


Improving oral health outcomes for people living in rural and remote areas was also identified by the National Oral Health Plan 2004 – 2013 as a specific action area.

To be able to generate expressed demand projections for this population, HWA used 2010 ARCPOH NDTIS data on the number of services categorised by the ABSs Remoteness Area (RA) structure. The RA structure is a geographic classification system used to present regional data, with RA categories defined in terms of the physical distance of a location from the nearest urban centre (access to goods and services) based on population size.

There are five RAs in the classification:


  1. Major cities

  2. Inner regional

  3. Outer regional

  4. Remote

  5. Very remote.

Using the ARCPOH NDTIS data, expressed demand for people living in metropolitan areas (RA 1) was estimated to be 2.98 services per person, compared with rates of 2.82 (RA 2), 2.32 (RA 3) and 1.79 (RAs 4 and 5). Please note, a combined total for RAs 4 and 5 is presented as the NDTIS is a sample survey and information for each RA was not reliable on its own.

These rates were held constant throughout the projection period. They were projected into the future based on population projections from the ABS population projection series B (with the proportion of people living in each RA being applied to the population projections).

Figure 9 shows oral health services received per person for the total population compared with those living in major cities, inner regional, outer regional and remote/very remote areas. It clearly shows that those living outside of major cities are projected to access fewer oral health services per member of population than the total population.

Figure : Projected number of services per population by remoteness areas, 2012 to 2025



the figure shows oral health services received per person for the total population compared with those living in major cities, inner regional, outer regional and remote/very remote areas.
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