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Soft Tissue Lesions

Pathological lesions of the mucosa were detected in 1.4% of the sample. The...

The Condition Of The Gingiva

For all age groups, the gingival index ranged from 0.03 to 0.3. Mean values...

Plague Consolidation Status

With the exception of the 7 year stratum, females had lesser mean values than males for PCS. Aborigines were always disadvantaged compared with Caucasians, the differences being significant in most age strata. In considering the effect of water from different sources, excepting the 10 year age group, Aborigines resident in bore water areas had less consolidated plaque than those who consumed river or tank water. The same does not apply to Caucasians, probably because of almost universal use of fluoride toothpaste and high usage of supplemental fluoride tablets. Over the combined age strata the differences in mean values were significant for Aborigines.

Orthodontic Treatment Requirements

Over the whole sample, 7.1% of subjects were assessed as requiring treatment by a specialist practitioner, with an additional 2.7% in the doubtful category. Generally, almost twice as many Caucasians were assessed as requiring urgent treatment than Aborigines. Contradictory results obtained in several Australian studies reviewed, indicate an urgent need for additional assessments of orthodontic conditions in N.S.W. using standardised epidemiological methods and rigid public health criteria.

Dental Treatment Received – Deciduous Dentition

The main characteristic of the results is the low ratio of filled to decayed teeth, particularly at age 5 years (1:31, 1:3, 1:2 at ages 5,6 and 7 respectively) when virtually no restorative services have been provided. However, these ratios do not reflect the extensive use of atraumatic and metal fluoride procedures. The value of which is shown in comparisons with the Australian average dmft mean values(21,22) for fluoridated plus non-fluoridated areas when Caucasians of this study by dentist Sutherland are 0.4, 0.4 and 0.3 of a dmf tooth better off at ages 6, 7 and 8 years. At 5 years however, Caucasians from this non-fluoridated sample are disadvantaged by 0.2 of a dmf tooth.

Although in most age groups, Aboriginal children have in excess of twice the number of dmf teeth as Caucasians, they have received only half the number of restorations.

Ectopic Eruption

The proportionate occurrence over the whole sample was 1.25%, with both...

Dental Anomalies

Severe malocclusion was diagnosed in 2.5% of children. Both sexes and ethnic...

Severity Of Enamel Defects

The severity of hypoplasia was lowest at age 6 years and increased irregularly to reach a maximum at 12 years and over. A similar pattern of increasing values with age and tooth eruption was demonstrated for opacities, whilst fluorosis values decreased with age. Tetracycline discolouration was most severe in children beyond 12 years of age, illustrating a more discriminate use of this drug during recent years. In this regard, Aborigines were always at a disadvantage, with no Caucasians showing tetracycline stain prior to age ten years.

Hypoplasia teeth was more severe in Aborigines. The same being true for opacities, except at ages 7 and 12 years. Despite the known relationship between fluorosis and malnutrition and the suspected poor nutritional status of Aboriginal subjects examined by a Cronulla Dentist in 1979, no significant association or consistent trend could be demonstrated between fluorosis and malnutrition in either ethnic group. .However, this survey was not designed to determine changes in Aboriginal nutrition since that time.

Over the whole sample the community index of fluorosis was 0.13. Within different localities, the values ranged from 0.07 at Bourke to 0.45 at Trangie. In respect of Caucasians, dental fluorosis is probably related to fluoride tablet supplementation in areas where the domestic water contains significant amounts of fluoride. However, for Aboriginal Children such supplementation would be extremely rare. Thus, factors additional to fluoride water concentration appear to be operating.

Nature Of Tooth Structure Affected By Cavities

For the whole sample, but excluding cases where primary and secondary caries in restored teeth occurred together, the proportion of dentinal to enamel caries was 1: 5.5. Initial caries of enamel comprised 52.8% of surfaces scored “D”. This high occurrence of initial lesions indicates extensive scope for the utilisation of atraumatic and metal fluoride therapy in the treatment of permanent teeth for a substantial proportion of the population examined.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dental Treatment Received

The Met Need Index is greater for CauCasians than Aborigines at all age strata except 9 years (when values are virtually equal). Over the combined sample from 6-13 years, Aborigines have an index of 39.2% and Caucasians 58.7%. The comparative value for children of the Australia wide study is 50.7%.

Despite identical opportunities for free treatment by the school dental service, the F component of the DMFT index was substantially lower for Aborigines than for Caucasians. However, there has been a remarkable improvement in the quantity of restorative services provided from a base of almost nil some 5 years ago. In the light of the reduction in the rate of progression of lesions, as demonstrated by other studies in the region , possible overprovision of restorative services may require attention.

(Photo credit: Sydney Dental Hospital)


Crowding of teeth was recorded in 21.3% of the sample with almost identical...

Teeth Spacing

Spacing was observed in 5.0% of the sample, without any trend of racial...

Oral Hygiene Condition

Beyond the age of 7 years, females were found to have consistently lower...

Dental Cavities In Artesian Water Areas of Australia

Over the combined age strata 6-14,Aborigines consuming bore water were found to have significantly lower caries experience (DMFS) than do their counterparts using tank/river water, but similar differences could not be demonstrated in individual age strata. In respect of the severity of lesions, Aborigines using bore water had lower values in all age strata except at 7 years, whilst Caucasians were at an advantage in 6 age groups compared with those supplied with surface water.

Carious Surfaces Associated With Enamel Defects

The importance of defective enamel in the initiation of carious lesions has been demonstrated in this study by the almost fourfold higher caries experience, at all ages, of children with defective teeth as opposed to those without defects. Moreover, in the former category only 11.9% of subjects were caries free compared with 42.8% in the latter. The association between caries and defects was more prominent in respect of yellow/brown and white opacities than in the case of hypoplasia. In the age range 6-8 years, 23.5% of Aborigines and 15.6% of Caucasians exhibited hypoplasia and opacities, whilst in the age group of 10-11 years, the proportions were almost equal at 35.3% and 34.1% respectively. In contrast to a 2.5 fold difference in the prevalence of defect-ive teeth observed by Schamschula in 1978, Aboriginal children aged 6-8 years are now only 1.5 times worse off than Caucasians. In the 10-11 year age group, the approximately equal prevalence of defects may be a consequence of considerable reduction in undernutrition amongst children who were 5-6 years of age in 1978. However, as the M component of the DMFS index is almost twice as high in Aborigines than in Caucasians, it is also possible that a substantial proportion of evidence pointing to defective tooth formation has been obliterated by extraction or restoration within the Aboriginal sample.


Tooth Decay In The Permanent Dentition

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Seven expressions of caries experience and severity have been assessed for the permanent dentition to allow comparison with other studies. For the combined sample, average caries experience ranged from 0.2 DMFT (0.2 DMFS) at age 6 years to 4.5 DMFT (9.4 DMFS) at age 14 years. For severity the range was 0.2 to 4.4 SR. Aborigines had higher caries experience (DMFS) than Caucasians at all age strata except 6 and 14 years equal and marginally lower respectively) which were significantly different at ages 7 and 8 years. Whilst females always had higher tooth decay scores, sex related differences were only significant in this sample at the age of 6 years.

In comparison with a mean DMFT score of 3.0 at 12 years for Carr’s Australia wide sample, 65.6% of whom were exposed to fluoridated water, both Aboriginal and Caucasian participants of this study are at an advantage with 2.7 and DMFT respectively, at the same age. The Caucasian component is also in a better position than the population sampled in the Central Coast of Northern Sydney for whom a mean DMFT value of 2.0 was recorded. However Caucasians of this study still have higher caries prevalence than subjects examined in the Sydney Lower North Shore component of the above study, where mean DMFT was 1.2 at 12 years of age. With respect to the age group 11-12 years, comparisons with the 2.6 DMFT recorded by Barmes in a recent South Australian study, favours this sample, where the mean caries experience of aborigines and Caucasians was 2.4 and 2.9 DMFT respectively. Aborigines of this survey are, however, at a disadvantage compared with the mean DMFT score of 2.0 recorded for those South Australian children who had not received treatment by-tne school dental service. Check out more here

Aboriginal children were found to have lower caries experience than the values reported by Schamschula some years earlier for children resident in the same areas. The reductions were 1.0 and 1.9 DMFT in the 6-8 and 10-11 year age groups respectively. However, the true magnitude of the improvement is better illustrated by the decrease in the severity of carious lesions for Aboriginal children aged 10-11 -between 1978 and 1983 from 6.7 to 2.7 SR. For Caucasian children of the same age the decline has been even greater, from 4.4 to 1.3 SR. In the 12 year age group, 16.4% of the 7-aborigina children were caries free, compared with 47.0% of caucasians. The comparative figure for the study by Carr 31.6%. Despite decreasing tooth decay experience of Aborigines, substantial treatment and preventive care is still necessary in order to approach the levels experienced by Caucasians.

Secondary Caries And Pulp Involvement

Overall, 1.4% of Aborigines and 0.6% of Caucasians were assessed as having...

Tooth Decay In Australian Aborigines and Caucasians

At age 6 years there was a significant difference between caries experience of Aborigines and Caucasians. Caucasian children in this study are also at an advantage over their peers represented in an Australia wide study by Carr who reported a mean dmft of 2.5 at 6 years. At the same age Carr reported 40.7% of the children to be caries free, whilst for the Caucasian component of this study the proportion is 55.3%. In contrast, only 24.4% of 6 year old Aboriginal children were assessed in this work as being dental caries free.

Beyond 6 years of age, mean dmft values of Caucasian children included in the present study were similar to those in the Australia wide survey despite the fact that the majority of the latter Children benefit from water fluoridation. Aboriginal children for the same age groups had mean draft values approximately 1 draf tooth greater. A trend is detected for subjects of both ethnic groups aced 5 years towards higher mean indices in non-fluoridated areas (4.6 and 2.4 dmft for Aborigines and Caucasians respectively)
(Photo credit: The Australian)

Oral Disease Prevalence in NSW Australia

A sample of 1483 subjects aged 5 to 14 years resident in 12 towns in Sydney and the Orana and Far West health region of  N.S.W was examined for 62 epidemiological parameters relating to oral disease prevalence. The sample was fully representative of the population from which it was drawn and contained 46.9% Aborigines. Of the children examined, 49.3% received all or most of their domestic water supplies from artesian or sub-artesian bores, whilst the remaining subjects obtained domestic water from rivers or roof rainwater catchments. With the exception of Warren, naturally fluoridated at 1.1 ppm, all supplies contained sub-optimal fluoride concentrations.

The N.S.W. school dental service has been active in the survey area during the last 5 years, with a majority of children being examined at least annually and treated as necessary. Over the last 4 years atraumatic and metal fluoride procedures were employed, where possible, in the treatment of the deciduous dentition in preference to traditional restorative services. Additionally, in sub-optimal fluoride areas, virtually all children received weekly fluoride rinses during the school year.

(Photo credit: The Riverina Medical and Dental Aboriginal Corporation)

Prevalence Of Enamel Defects

Hypoplasia, opacities, fluorosis and tetracycline discolouration were present in 11.7%, 20.8%, 10.7% and 5.2% of the sample population respectively. Aborigines were found to experience hypoplasia three times the rate for Caucasians. Both races were equally affected by opacities and fluorosis, but Aborigines had 2.5 times higher prevalence of tetracycline discolouration than Caucasians. The results demonstrate a considerable reduction in the prevalence of this condition since earlier (1978) observations in Brewarrina. However, the current data still show substantial proportions of affected children in other towns of the study area.
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Ectopic Eruption
Dental Anomalies
Teeth Spacing
  • Ectopic Eruption

  • Dental Anomalies

  • Crowding

  • Teeth Spacing