How's your oral health?

Check up on your oral health during Dental Health Week.

Many of us consider our dental health to be on track, but when was the last time you had a check-up at the dentist?

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) found more than 65% of Australians haven’t been to the dentist in the last two years and more than 50% only brush their teeth once a day.

The ADA’s annual campaign, Dental Health Week, held 5-11 August, aims to remind Australians about oral health.

The campaign educates Australians about the importance of brushing their teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, flossing daily, having a healthy diet which is low in sugar and visiting a dentist for regular check-ups. 

Australian Dental Association Queensland (ADAQ) Junior Vice President Alexander Forrest said check-ups are designed to prevent problems if they are done regularly.

“Brushing and flossing correctly are definitely important to maintain oral health and they certainly help prevent tooth decay,” Mr Forrest said.

“Very few people floss properly, and this is a matter for education; every dentist would be keen to help their patients learn how to do it.

“Taking care of one’s diet including reducing the intake of sugary drinks is another major step, one which has other health benefits as well.”

According to the ADA’s tracking report card, 73% of young people between 14-18 years are consuming too much sugar.

“Major sources are soft drink sand processed sugary foods,” Mr Forrest said.

“Sugar becomes broken down in saliva to become glucose which is a food source for the bacteria that cause tooth decay.”

Mr Forrest said there are many consequences of not treating tooth decay.

“If tooth decay is not treated, the obvious first problem is pain,” he said.

“This may become very bad, but it will eventually stop as the infection kills the nerve in the tooth.

“When the infection moves into the bone that holds the tooth, it reappears.

“This is a dangerous situation because the infection can travel in the bone and emerge.

“It may emerge and drain in the mouth, but if it seeks a track that leads into the body tissues, the outcome can require hospitalisation and may even be fatal.”

Good oral health tips

  • Brush twice a day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
  • Clean in between teeth at least once a day with floss or an interdental brush.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet and limit sugar intake.
  • Regularly visit the dentist for check-ups and preventive treatment.

 

RACQ members receive 10% off any treatment at 1300 SMILES dentists. Simply present your RACQ membership card.