Why NIOH exists

NIOH was formed as a response to the call for leadership and action in collaborating to improve health outcomes in Australia.

NIOH provides the platform for Australia to promote and drive the alignment and integration of oral and general health systems.

Our work at NIOH is focussed on effective action for change through collaboration to tackle the 'wicked problem' of oral health inequality.

Dental disease cannot be managed through dentistry and the work of dental and oral health professions alone.

Over the past few decades, despite the increasing knowledge we have of the causes of, and the ways to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, these are still the most common and costly diseases on our planet. Human behaviour is a difficult thing to change. Everyone has a role to play. We need a change in the way we deliver preventive health care. Those health and care workers most likely to see vulnerable and at-risk people should all be able to deliver targeted evidence based health promotion and screen for early disease, deliver preventive care and refer to appropriate services where needed.

Innovative and extraordinary work is being done in Australia and the region, but much of it without the benefits of planning, evidence, evaluation or even funding. Often the work is held together or led by trail blazers who burnout, and leave, and the project or work is left to wither, whilst the everyday struggle of providing basic dental care with limited public dental funding is overwhelming. Brilliant projects such as that with care navigators supporting severely disadvantaged people to access dental care, is at the whim of inconsistent funding and trends, and disappears as quickly as it emerges.