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September 2020

Report cover for Victorian action plan to prevent oral disease 2020–30 jpeg

Plan to improve oral health for all Victorians

A new action plan aims to improve the oral health of all Victorians by 2030.

The State Government released the Victorian Action Plan to Prevent Oral Disease 2020–30, which sets out a vision to achieve good oral health for all Victorians and reduce the gap for people at higher risk of the disease.

The centrepiece of the plan is the $321 million school dental program that provides free care to all children at Victorian government primary and secondary schools.

A healthy mouth is essential for good health and wellbeing.

Tooth decay is the most prevalent disease in Victoria with almost half of all children and more than 90 per cent of adults affected.

Dental conditions are the highest cause of all potentially-preventable hospitalisations in children aged to nine.

Gum disease is the fifth most common health problem in Victoria and, on average, more than 200 Victorians die of oral cancer every year.

When it comes to oral health, prevention is the key.

The plan sets out four ambitious targets to be achieved in Victoria by 2030.

These are:

•       Increasing the proportion of children entering primary school without dental cavities to 85 per cent;

•       Decreasing the proportion of Victorian adults with moderate or severe gum disease to 23 per cent;

•       Increasing the proportion of regional and rural Victorians accessing fluoridated drinking water to 95 per cent;

•       Increasing the relative five-year survival rate for Victorians with oral cancer to 75 per cent.

As well as dramatically expanding public provision of free dental care to children, the plan includes actions to support better food and drink choices, improve oral health literacy and boost oral health promotion, screening, early detection and prevention services.

The Victorian Action Plan to Prevent Oral Disease 2020–30 was developed following consultations with more than 550 stakeholders, including community dental agencies, consumers and representatives of the health, early childhood, education, social services and local government sectors.

•       The action plan can be accessed at https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/preventive-health/oral-health-promotion/oral-health-planning.