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Closing the dental divide

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In reply: Crocombe rightly points to the findings of the recent Health Workforce Australia report1 that Australia has a “more than sufficient dental workforce” but fails to note that the report states that this does not take account of the considerable unmet demand that exists, particularly in rural and lower socioeconomic areas. The problem of maldistribution remains.2

A careful reading of my article would show that my solution to poor dental health in Australia is not to integrate dental care into Medicare — although I do contend that the separation of oral health from that of the rest of the body is hard to rationalise. But the very pragmatic solutions offered, from fluoridation to investment in a “Dental Health Service Corps”, specifically exclude this possibility, and don’t even entail a significant transfer of costs from patients to the public purse.