• Subject Name : Public oral health

Oral Health Therapy Practice in Australia

Why do inequities in oral health exist?

Oral health inequality can be seen due to various factors like individual factors, environmental, organizational, and socio-cultural (Oldroyd et al., 2017). Individual factors that are responsible for the inequality in oral can be attributed to oral health literacy and level of education. Environmental factors can influence the diet of a person which can affect the caries incidence and progression also it can be the reason for the geographic distribution of healthcare facilities. The socio-cultural factors can influence health-seeking behaviour. The other factor that affects oral health equality is the economy of a person as it dictates the accessibility and affordability of oral healthcare. It is also attributed to the maldistribution of the healthcare facilities in various geographic locations though there are many policies to reduce the inequality the oral health gap still exists (Johar et al., 2018).

Who are the people who suffer from poor oral health?

Poor oral health is suffered by the people who are most disadvantaged and it can be attributed to various reasons. The people who have poor oral hygiene maintenance and oral hygiene habits like cleaning of teeth and gums by mechanical methods, less use of mouth rinse or less frequent visit to the dentist. Often the place of living is related to poor oral hygiene in terms of dental caries because if there is less level of fluoride in food and drinking water and increase in the level of selenium can increase caries. Disadvantaged population like people living in remote and rural areas as they have less access to healthcare facilities and it affects the children as they are more vulnerable to oral health and the most importantly it affects people from the indigenous background (Shrivastava et al., 2019; Schuch et al., 2017).

How do these inequities impact on the individual, and other Australians?

These oral health inequities create a health gap and it can affect the quality of life at the individual level as it affects the way the person perceives his health. The inequities are due to the fact that there is maldistribution of the healthcare facilities and personnel (Shrivastava et al., 2019). People will not be able to cater to their needs of health as they when in need cannot get the facility. Health inequity has an impact on other aspects of life like social and economic aspects which further deteriorates the health of affected people. For reduction in the health inequity that exists there, the government of Australia has made health policy to reduce the gap and fund allocation that might affect the other aspects of people.

How can the OHT scope of practice be used to decrease these inequities?

There are various aspects of oral health which can be used for oral health treatment and oral health promotion. Prevention is better than cure and by the use of oral health, therapy can be used for the promotion and prevention of oral diseases which can reduce the health gap (Schuch et al., 2017). The other thing that can be done is the involvement of local communities so that regular oral screening can be done appropriate treatment can be done or measures can be taken. The other measure that can be taken is to involve as much as possible people from the local community to make sure that the community can be empowered in terms of provision of oral therapy.

References for Oral Health Inequality

Johar, M., Soewondo, P., Pujisubekti, R., Satrio, H. K., & Adji, A. (2018). Inequality in access to health care, health insurance and the role of supply factors. Social Science & Medicine, 213, 134-145.

Oldroyd, J. C., White, S., Stephens, M., Neil, A. A., & Nanayakkara, V. (2017). Program evaluation of the inner south community health oral health program for priority populations. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 28(3), 1222-1239.

Schuch, H. S., Haag, D. G., Kapellas, K., Arantes, R., Peres, M. A., Thomson, W. M., & Jamieson, L. M. (2017). The magnitude of Indigenous and non‐Indigenous oral health inequalities in Brazil, New Zealand and Australia. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, 45(5), 434-441.

Shrivastava, R., Power, F., Tanwir, F., Feine, J., & Emami, E. (2019). University-based initiatives towards better access to oral health care for rural and remote populations: A scoping review. PloS One, 14(5).

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