Background: Few studies have examined dental caries experience in Aboriginal adults. The objectives of this study were to describe the dental caries experience of some Aboriginal Australian adults residing in the Northern Territory, and to determine associations with dental caries experience.
Methods: A convenience sample of Aboriginal adults from Australia's Northern Territory was dentally examined. Self-reported oral health information was collected through a questionnaire.
Results: Data were available for 312 participants. The per cent of untreated decayed teeth (per cent DT >0) was 77.9 (95% CI 73.0 to 82.1), the mean DT was 3.0 (95% CI 2.6 to 3.4), the prevalence of any caries experience (the per cent DMFT >0) was 95.5 (95% CI 92.6 to 97.3) and the mean DMFT was 9.7 (95% CI 8.9 to 10.5). In multivariable analyses, unemployment and not brushing teeth the previous day were associated with the per cent DT >0. Problem-based dental attendance was associated with both the mean DT and the per cent DMFT >0. Older age, residing in the capital city, being non-incarcerated, last visiting a dentist <1 year ago and problem-based dental attendance were associated with the mean DMFT.
Conclusions: Dental caries experience among this convenience sample of Aboriginal Australian adults was very high. Most factors associated with dental caries were social determinants or dental service access-related.