BUSH GPs are being urged to learn about dental care as rural Australians look to them to treat their oral health problems.
University of Tasmania Centre for Rural Health interviewed rural GPs from across Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania and found many were untrained in oral health but regularly received patients with dental problems.
Researchers found bush GPs saw an average of 12 patients each month with oral health concerns.
The study, published today in the Medical Journal of Australia found patients were often unable or unwilling to go to a dentist.
Although 18 of the 30 GPs interviewed said they were confident with providing oral health care, many said they knew little about the field.
"I start off … 'sorry, I'm not a dentist', and all I know is there are supposed to be 32 teeth in the mouth and that is pretty much all I know. I don't have the training, absolutely not," one participant said.