Total population investigation of dental hospitalizations in Indigenous children under five years in Western Australia using linked data
Article first published online: 30 NOV 2011
© 2011 Australian Dental Association
Australian Dental Journal
Volume 56, Issue 4, pages 358–364, December 2011
How to Cite
Slack-Smith, L., Read, A., Colvin, L., Leonard, H., Kilpatrick, N., McAullay, D. and Messer, L. (2011), Total population investigation of dental hospitalizations in Indigenous children under five years in Western Australia using linked data. Australian Dental Journal, 56: 358–364. doi: 10.1111/j.1834-7819.2011.01366.x
- Issue published online: 30 NOV 2011
- Article first published online: 30 NOV 2011
- (Accepted for publication 14 April 2011.)
- child health;
- data linkage;
Background: The aim of this study was to compare dental hospital admissions in a total state birth population of Indigenous and non-Indigenous children aged under five years in Western Australia.
Methods: Midwives’ notification data were linked to databases of deaths, admissions, birth defects and intellectual disability. Births during 1980–1995 were followed until five years of age (n = 383 665). Dental admissions were classified by ICD-9 principal diagnosis categories.
Results: There were 738 dental admissions for 665 children aged up to five years of Indigenous mothers (n = 20 921). Indigenous children comprised 6.3% of all children having a dental admission in this age group; 3.2% of children with Indigenous mothers had a dental admission compared with 2.7% of non-Indigenous children. Overall, 8.7% (n = 58) of Indigenous children with a dental admission had a birth defect and 5.5% (n = 23) had an intellectual disability (compared to 8.8% and 3.2%). Indigenous children were four times more likely to be diagnosed with oral soft tissue diseases than non-Indigenous children, and less likely to be categorized as having diseases of the dental hard tissues. Indigenous children were more likely to have a longer dental admission.
Conclusions: These analyses provide important findings regarding hospital admissions for Indigenous children. Admissions for disorders of the soft tissues are more common in Indigenous children.