The Andrews Labor Government is developing a new action plan to improve the oral health of Victorians and reduce the gap in oral health outcomes for people that are at higher risk of oral disease.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Health Gabrielle Williams today announced consultation would start soon on a new strategy to prevent oral disease in Victoria.

There have been significant improvements in oral health over the last 30 years, however many Victorians still suffer from poor oral health. About half of all children have signs of tooth decay and over 90 per cent of adults are affected. Dental conditions are the highest cause of preventable hospitalisations for children under 10.

Moderate or severe gum disease is now the fifth most common problem affecting 60 per cent of Victorians 55 years and older.

Most oral disease is preventable. Our strategy aims to make a real difference by boosting partnerships and creating environments and settings that support oral health including for vulnerable Victorians. It will target oral health promotion and prevention programs in communities where it’s needed most.

These programs will support even more people at risk of oral disease to keep their teeth and gums healthy, and in turn improve their overall sense of wellbeing and self-esteem.

The new plan comes as the Labor Government delivers a $20.1 million boost to Victoria’s public dental care services, which treats more than 330,000 people every year.

While the Commonwealth is slashing funding for dental services, the Labor Government will invest $226.1 million in public dental services in 2017/18 – which is 9.7 per cent more than the previous year.

The federal cuts to the National Partnership Agreement on Public Dental Services will see Victoria lose about $30 million over two and half years. That means thousands of disadvantaged Victorians could miss out on care or wait even longer.

The new dental health strategy is expected to be released by the end of the year.