The Australian Greens announce details of new dental policy

14 March 2019

Declaring that “your health shouldn’t be determined by your postcode or bank balance”, Leader Dr Richard Di Natale unveiled a policy which would invest $5.8 billion in Medicare-funded dental care. 

Acknowledging that “untreated dental disease can dramatically impact … a person’s health and quality of life”, Senator Di Natale said the Australian Greens would fund dental care, via Australia’s publicly-funded universal health care system, all young people, aged pensioners, full benefit recipients and concession card holders. 

“Millions of Australians have delayed visiting the dentist because of high out of pocket costs, which is why the Greens have long been champions of Medicare-funded dental care.” 

The ADA has responded to the Greens’ policy by reaffirming that access to dental service for vulnerable Australians must be an election priority and that it supported policies such as those released by the Australian Greens that target government funds to these members of the community and assist in affording them proper dental care. 

Figures cited in the National Oral Health Plan 2015-24, confirm that while more than 90% of adults and 40% of young children have experienced tooth decay, only one in four have a favourable visiting pattern to their dentist, with many Australians still requiring specific strategies to improve their access to dental treatment. 

Poor oral health is a significant contributor to poor overall health where patients who live with long term pain suffer severe and often catastrophic consequences, evidenced by figures that show that more than 63,000 Australians are hospitalised annually due to preventable oral health conditions. 

ADA Federal President Dr Carmelo Bonanno today said “We welcome greater attention to oral health by political parties, and today’s announcement is a step in the right direction”. 

“Targeted funding that supports those Australians that are often least likely to attend a dentist regularly is sorely needed if we are to improve oral health in our community”.