Health officials in Australia are urging people to take the time to consult with their oral health care provider.
In a statement, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council said it was working with the National Health Insurance (NHIS) and Queensland Health Service (QHLS) to develop guidelines to help people manage oral health.
In February, Queensland Health Minister Rob Stokes announced a series of changes to the state’s dental health program, including capping the amount of time people can be required to receive oral health support in an effort to encourage people to seek medical advice.
“This is important because there is a high proportion of Queenslanders who are already suffering from oral health issues,” Dr Stokes said at the time.
“There is also a large number of Queensland residents who are in need of oral health advice and support.”
The Queensland Health Board said in its statement that “every Queensland patient is unique” and that it was important to have access to dental care for all.
“We also believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to providing dental health support to Queenslanders,” it said.
“It is important that people with conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, HIV and obesity, as well as those who are breastfeeding, get dental health care at a timely and appropriate time.”
Dr Stokes has since promised to increase funding to support oral health services in Queensland.
The NHIS and QHLS have said they are continuing to work with Queensland Health and are “working with the Queensland Government to deliver additional dental services to meet Queensland’s dental needs”.
In February this year, the Queensland Council of Dentists said it would not be making any changes to its dental services as a result of the Queensland government’s changes to dental support.
“As an industry we recognise the importance of dental care and the needs of our members and community, and have a number of dental support services currently available to our members,” the council said.
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