Accessible dental care for everyone

Every person deserves access to timely, quality dental care.

Australia’s legacy of separating dental health care from our broader public health care system has had devastating effects on people’s health. 

Not only does poor oral health immediately impact eating, speech, self-esteem, education and employment opportunities, but dental disease is also associated with a host of medical conditions, including infections, stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, adverse pregnancy outcomes, neurodegenerative conditions, inflammatory bowel disease, and respiratory conditions. 

Wait times for public dental care can reach up to three years in some parts of Victoria, and the situation is even worse in our regions.  In June of 2023, if you lived in Warrnambool, the average wait time was 38 months for general dental care. People deserve better.

This is forcing people into emergency services – burdening our already stretched hospitals.

In 2021, there were over 17,000 potentially preventable hospitalisations in Victoria due to dental conditions. That’s 17,000 hospitalisations that likely would not have occurred if people had access to timely and affordable dental care.

To start addressing this problem, the Labor Government must prioritise building and retaining our oral health workforce, especially in rural and regional areas. They also need to pay them appropriately – our public oral health workers are amongst the worst paid in the country by a long way.

I’ll be working with the Victorian Greens to make sure we continue to push for dental wait times to come down and to improve access to public dental care for all adults, no matter where they live.

Accessible dental care for everyone

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