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Older Australians at risk unless oral care improved: Dr Kathleen Matthews on 2GB

5 January 2022

Improving oral health and access to dentistry for older Australians remains a key advocacy goal for ADA NSW. We are continuing to take every opportunity to highlight this issue and how we can bring about better oral health for all Australians. ADA NSW Board member Dr Kathleen Matthews was invited onto 2GB’s Wake Up Australia show to discuss how we can achieve this and stress the relationship between good oral health and overall health. 


Following numerous calls to yesterday’s Overnight programme, Clinton Maynard is joined by Dr Kathleen Matthews, Board Director & former President of ADA NSW (Australian Dental Association), about the millions of older Australians who continue to suffer unnecessarily from the lack of suitable oral care health services.

“Australians in care are lacking even basic oral health supplies such as tooth brushes and denture cleaning,” says Dr Matthews, who has worked for the past ten years providing outreach services in aged care facilities in regional NSW said. “It’s completely unacceptable.

“Poor oral health care can hugely impact older Australians’ health and quality of life. It significantly increases the risk of pneumonia, oral infections, poor nutrition and other life-threatening conditions. The economic impact of poor oral health for older Australians costs about $750m a year, yet oral health lags currently behind hairdressing and podiatry in our country’s aged care.

“While Medicare looks after the general health of our adults, the mouth gets left behind. Making oral health assessments a routine, Medicare-funded procedure would help radically improve the oral and general health of older Australians in care.”

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