Is clinical oral health poorer in regional areas compared with major city areas? Academic Article uri icon


  • Objective

    To determine if clinical oral health outcomes differ between people who reside in major city, inner regional and outer regional areas of Australia.


    Data from the National Survey of Adult Oral Health 2004-06 that used a clustered stratified random sampling design with telephone interviews, standardised oral epidemiological examinations and self-complete questionnaires were used to compare the clinical oral health.

    Main outcome measures

    Decayed, missing and filled permanent teeth.


    Australians aged 15 years or more. Data were weighted by age, sex and regional location to the Estimated Resident Population, bivariate analysis undertaken to determine confounders and multivariate analysis completed with dental caries clinical measures as dependent variables.


    Inner regional people had a significantly higher decayed, missing and filled teeth than people from major cities (Estimate = 1.15, P < 0.01), but there was no difference between inner and regional areas. Older people had higher outcomes for decayed, missing and filled teeth (15.42, P < 0.01) and missing teeth (9.66, P < 0.01), but less decayed teeth (-0.37, P < 0.01), and people with the highest incomes had lower dental caries experience (-1.34, P < 0.01) and missing teeth (-1.42, P < 0.01).


    Dental caries experience was greater in inner regional areas than in major city areas, but not outer regional areas. Dental caries experience was similar in outer regional and major city areas.

publication date

  • June 2013