Improving oral health: Winners of the 2019 Community Service Grants

10 September 2019

The Australian Dental Health Foundation (ADHF) and the Mars Wrigley Foundation have announced the winners of the 2019 Community Service Grants, with winners drawn from across Australia including the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Griffith University & Hope4Health (Cherbourg, Qld) sharing in 13 grants totalling $82,000 USD.

These projects are particularly important given that in recent years, while oral health in Australia generally has seen substantial improvements (1) this positive trend is starting to decline, particularly in remote and disadvantaged communities across Australia. (2)  

Differences between the oral health of children in cities and rural communities is widening, with 37% of adults in rural areas suffering from untreated tooth decay, compared to 23% of adults in major cities. (3)

Every day, Australians living in remote or disadvantaged communities encounter a number of barriers to good oral health, such as poor diet, access to dental facilities, financial pressure, and lower health literacy, all of which greatly impact the health equity of those living in this country. (4)

Now in its ninth year, the Community Service Grants program encourages volunteer dentists and dental students to provide oral health community services and education to high risk populations in Australia. 

Since the program’s inception, more than half a million dollars in grant funding has been awarded to volunteer dentists and dental students to provide free-of-charge treatments and robust oral health education to patients from some of Australia’s most remote and disadvantaged communities.

These volunteers have provided much-needed treatment and educational services to some of Australia’s most vulnerable communities, including the homeless, Indigenous, domestic violence victims, the disabled, low income earners, refugees, the elderly and those living in rural Australia.

David Owen, Chairman of the Advisory Board for the ADHF, said of the winners:

"The ADHF applauds 2019’s successful Grantees. These Grants will go to organisations providing oral care and education at a grassroots level and the ADHF is proud of our members working to deliver services that are vital to ensuring equity in access to oral healthcare services and education across Australia."

For the full list of winners and explanations of their projects, please go to 2019 Community Service Grants. (References for article citations are also available via this document.)