Oral disease contributes to illness burden and disparities

Steve Kisely, Ratilal Lalloo and Pauline Ford
Med J Aust 2018; 208 (4): . || doi: 10.5694/mja17.00777
Published online: 5 March 2018

Oral health cannot be isolated from physical or mental health and should form part of comprehensive care

Dental disease affects 3.9 billion people worldwide, with untreated caries being the most prevalent condition in the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010.1 In spite of this, disparities in oral ill health receive less attention than those in other chronic illnesses, even though dental disease is significantly more prevalent and severe in socially disadvantaged and marginalised groups. These include people on lower incomes, those born outside Australia, Indigenous Australians and people with severe mental illness.2-4 For instance, in comparison with the overall Australian population, Indigenous Australians have 2.77 times the prevalence of untreated dental caries,3 while people with severe mental illness have nearly three times the odds of total tooth loss, the end result of untreated caries and gum disease.4

  • Steve Kisely
  • Ratilal Lalloo
  • Pauline Ford

  • University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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