Client perspectives on an Aboriginal community led oral health service in rural Australia

Michelle Irving, Kylie Gwynne, Blake Angell, Marc Tennant, Anthony Blinkhorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: An oral health service was implemented, using a unique community development approach, for Northern NSW Australian Aboriginal communities in 2013-14. This study examined the views of children (and parents) who accessed the service, including: the extent of reported dental problems, oral health knowledge, attitudes and behaviour, accessibility of oral health services, satisfaction and cultural sensitivity of the service. 

Methods: A survey of the children who accessed this service was conducted between October 2014 and December 2014. 

Results: A total of 49 (71%) Aboriginal children aged 4-14 (or parents of), provided responses to the survey. All agreed that healthy teeth were important (100%), but many thought oral disease leading to extraction was normal (68%). High levels of oral pain were reported (66%), half (53%) reported brushing morning and night. Access to the new dental health service was reported as 'easy' (92%). Many walked (47%) or were driven (35%) in <30 min (90%). All respondents were happy with their dental treatment, and that their Aboriginal heritage was respected by the oral health team (100%). 

Conclusion: The implementation of a new community led oral health service to Northern NSW Aboriginal communities was shown here to be well-utilised, respected and in an area of high need. The collaborative approach could be continued to be utilised to implement targeted, community led health promotion programs to facilitate and encourage better oral health practices for the Aboriginal children in these communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-168
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Aboriginal
  • dental
  • dental health
  • health promotion
  • rural
  • survey


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