Colgate has released new research as part of a national report into the country’s second most costly diet-related disease, which affects nine out of 10 Australian adults – tooth decay – and it’s not just adults being affected. Tooth decay is considered to be Australia’s most chronic disease for children and is five times more prevalent in children than asthma. Disturbingly, child oral health in Australia is actually getting worse.

While tooth decay has declined globally since the 1970s, recent data from the Australian Dental Association has indicated an increase of the disease. Since 1997, an increasing trend in tooth decay has become apparent in Australia and it is now Australia’s most common health problem, with 11 million newly decayed teeth developing each year.

New Colgate research reveals Australian ambivalence towards tooth decay. The Colgate Cavity Report has revealed:

  • Almost half (45 per cent) of Australians believe tooth decay is inevitable;
  • 58 per cent of Australians believe getting cavities happens to everyone;
  • Three in five (61 per cent) Australian adults feel self conscious about the appearance of their teeth;
  • 75 per cent of Australian adults wish they had taken better care of their teeth;
  • Only half (48 per cent) of Australians brush their teeth the recommended amount of twice a day;
  • 49 per cent forget to brush their teeth before bed;
  • Four in ten (39 per cent) Aussies admit they don’t know or aren’t sure how often it is recommended to brush their teeth in order to maintain good oral health.


Dr Susan Cartwright, Scientific Affairs Manager, Colgate Oral Care, believes tooth decay doesn’t have to be an endemic issue:

“If left untreated, tooth decay can lead to serious health issues, such as nerve damage, infection and loss of teeth. With such potentially painful effects, why is tooth decay still reported as Australia’s most common health problem? It doesn’t have to be this way – the Australian Dental Association believes no one should accept the condition as inevitable as it can be easily prevented with a healthy diet and proper dental care.”