One-third of Australian adults are delaying dental treatment due to the cost, according to one of the country's peak health bodies.
The Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) has called on the federal government to address the "deplorable" state of public dental health care as it launches a new campaign to highlight the issue.
CHF figures reveal that the waiting list to access public dental services has reached at least 650,000 – with many adults without private health insurance waiting over two years for an appointment.
According to CHF chief executive officer Carol Bennett, only 11 per cent of Australians receive any kind of dental treatment in any one year.
"More than 30 per cent of all adults and close to 47 per cent of concession card holders are delaying or avoiding dental treatment because of the cost. This is undoubtedly a crisis," Ms Bennett said today (May 1).
"The longer you wait to get treatment, the more damage is likely to happen to your health."
Private health insurance may help to make dental health services more accessible for Australians, helping to cover the costs of a visit to the dentist – including diagnostic oral examinations and consultations – as well as preventive measures such as the removal of plaque.