Research essay requirements
This assessment has a MAXIMUM WORD limit of 1400 words (excluding your reference list – but inclusive of in-text citations).
The essay is to be submitted through SafeAssign via the BSB113 blackboard website (see BB assessment 2 folder for detail). You are advised to keep a copy of your work for your own records.
The assessment should be submitted as a WORD document or PDF. Please note that other file formats may not be able to be opened and will be assumed to be a non-submission.
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Your essay will be marked against the published CRA for this assessment (provided at the end of the Assessment Documentation).
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Poor dental health imposes economic and social costs at both the level of the individual and society (Duckett, Cowgill and Swerissen, 2019). The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW, 2018) reported that Australians have an average of 12.8 decayed, missing or filled teeth and estimated that between 2006 - 2017 approximately 70,200 hospitalisations for dental conditions may have been prevented with earlier treatment. One in ten of these hospital admissions is due to preventable dental conditions, such as untreated tooth decay (Harris, Millar and Calder, 2018).
Public health programmes that either extend or promote the use of fluoride are considered one of the main contributors to the decline in dental cavities and improvements in dental health in most Westernized countries (Petersen and Ogawa 2016).
Despite peer review research demonstrating that access to fluoridated drinking water reduces tooth decay (NHMRC 2017), community water fluoridation programs are not without controversy amongst the public. In Australia, fluoridation of water supply began as early as 1960 (Department of Health, 2017). Queensland was the last state to introduce fluoridation of water in 2008. In 2012, the decision to fluoridate water supplies passed from state to local governments. This resulted in a decrease of water fluoridation across the state. In 2017, 89% of the Australian population had access to fluoridated drinking water compared with 75% in Queensland (AIHW, 2018).
Less controversial alternatives to community water fluoride programs, are public health care programs that aim to improve oral health through the promotion of self-care practices that encourage the regular brushing of teeth with a fluoride toothpaste. However, in contrast to community water fluoride programs, the effectiveness of such programs is often confounded by unequal distribution of dental health disease risk s, and variations across social and economic groups in the adoption of preventive behaviours (Rugg-Gunn et al. 2016).
You have been approached by the Australian Medical Association to examine the economics of a strategic response on oral health promotion to increase the use of fluoride for the purposes of improving Queensland oral health (Australian Medical Association, 2019;OHMG, 2017).
They asked that you provide:
1. an overview of
a. dental and oral health in Australia and Queensland; and
b. the economic and social costs of poor dental health borne by both individuals and the society.
2. a description of the relevant economic theory to explain the effects of inadequate fluoride use on economic efficiency
3. a critical economics analysis of increasing the use of fluoride through:
a. community water fluoridation program
b. public education program
You are required to support your economic analysis with appropriate data and economic models (partial equilibrium analysis) which you use to examine how the policy achieves the desired objective - to improve the nation’s oral health through increasing the use of fluoride. A brief summary of the potential economic effects (costs and benefits) of each of the above policies is required. However, it is appreciated that a full analysis of the dynamic effects of these policy solutions is beyond the scope of this work.