Title: Rural and remote oral health, problems and models for improvement: a Western Australian perspective
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Journal: Aust. J. Rural Health 8: 22-28
Publisher: Location: Nedlands
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ABSTRACT: Oral healthcare in rural communities shares many of the dilemmas faced by medicine in providing services to large geographical areas with dispersed populations. This study examined the population data and service provision data relevant to the geographical distribution of oral health care in Western Australia (WA). Of the 1.7 million people resident in WA, 72% were resident in the five major urban centres with only 13% in rural and remote regions. Of the 320 postcode regions, 186 had a population of less than 2500, 31 had a population from 2500 to 5000, 42 from 5000 to 10 000, 37 from 10 000 to 20 000, and 24 had a population greater that 20 000. Almost 80% of postcode regions with a population less than 2500 are in non-urban regions. Of the total of 690 dentists who were analysed in this study, it was found that the vast majority (greater than 85%) worked in practices in postcode regions within metropolitan Perth or the major urban centres. A total of 43 postcode regions did not have a dental practice within their bounds. In order to address this disparity in service availability, strategies including the development of training for medical practitioners and auxiliaries, the use of modern technology, school-based programs and the development of interdisciplinary links should be implemented. These strategies would also facilitate the development of closer links between medical and dental practitioners and the development of skills within the medical fraternity that would facilitate improved oral health in rural and remote communities.

Reference (Biomedical Style):
Pacza T, Steele L, Tennant M. Rural and remote oral health, problems and models for improvement: a Western Australian perspective. Aust. J. Rural Health . 2000;8:22-28.