Tackling Queensland's oral health crisis

MORE than 2000 patients from more than 13 rural communities across central and western Queensland have been treated at the QCoal Community Dental Service in the past year.

This week marks one year since the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Queensland based mining company QCoal Group launched the service in Collinsville.

Queensland RFDS chairman Bill Mellor said the three-year partnership was formed to address regional Queensland's oral health crisis by providing access to preventive dental care with no out-of-pocket expenses.

Principal Dentist Ian Odendaal said the dental team had provided a significant amount of acute treatment so far.

"This is very important because studies have shown the correlation between oral health and our general health," Mr Odendaal said.

"For instance, links have been made between gum disease and heart disease.

"Gum disease has also been associated with rheumatoid arthritis, adverse pregnancy outcomes and coronary heart disease, while chronic gum infection can lead to diabetes complications," he said.

QCoal Group managing director Christopher Wallin said the company had committed $3million to tackle rural Queensland's chronic dentist shortage.

"Oral health in remote areas presents special challenges, including difficulty in accessing regular dental services; lower dental education and product availability, however this service goes a long way to helping address these challenges," he said.

"Many of the towns the service has visited have a significant indigenous population, and data the service has collected shows these residents have made full use of the service."


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