Oral Health Awareness Lacking in Australia
New research commissioned by the independent Oral Health Advisory Panel suggests Aussies aren’t getting the message when it comes to the importance of oral health, and the behaviours that promote healthy teeth and gums for life. According to the OHAP Oral Health Care Study, around 92% of Australian adults can’t define the early signs of tooth decay. Around three of every four parents don’t know when to take their baby to the dentist for the first visit, and one of every three people surveyed value the appearance of their smile and fresh breath above healthy teeth and gums.
Smile in Style aims to build oral health awareness in the suburbs around Moonee Ponds and Sunbury by educating parents and children about tooth decay and gum disease. By providing information that you can trust from dentists with decades of experience, Dr Terry Rose, Dr Helen Luo, and Dr Meenakshi Rajcoomer can help you develop habits that support a healthy mouth and healthy body. It is well known that oral conditions such as gum disease are linked to chronic conditions, such as diabetes, alzheimer’s, heart disease and preterm births. Oral health doesn’t exist in isolation. Your mouth is connected to the rest of your body and decayed, or diseased oral structures can have systemic consequences.
Why treat tooth decay and gum disease when you can prevent it?
Regular hygiene maintenance visits with our hygienists are largely more affordable than services to treat decay and gum disease. Yet, the vast majority of Aussie adults surveyed in the annual OHAP study were unaware of the early symptoms of tooth decay and the need for regular check up appointments. Early decay can be treated with Dental Lasers often without any local anaesthetic. However, if the decay isn’t treated, it can progress to create holes in the tooth or even deep decay that affects the inner part of the tooth. Toothache is often a very late sign of deep decay. Inflammation of the gums, gingivitis can even be reversed if detected in its earlier stages before leading to periodontitis. This is where bone below the gum gets inflamed or infected leading to deep gum pockets where plaque and bacteria collect making cleaning extremely difficult. Eventually periodontitis will lead to bone loss and teeth falling out.
Healthy habits start early
Of the parents and caregivers surveyed, most (at 76%) had no idea about the recommendation that babies visit the dentist as soon as the first tooth comes in, or by the child’s first birthday if a tooth hasn’t erupted yet. This first visit establishes good relationships with the dental team and helps to identify and address any problems with tooth development early on. Most importantly, the first visit helps to establish healthy home hygiene practices. Up until the age of eight, parents should monitor and assist their children with tooth-brushing. Generally, children aged seven and younger don’t have the manual dexterity to effectively brush their teeth. Yet, OHAP researchers found 77% of survey respondents allowed children under the age of eight to brush their teeth without assistance.
The Oral Health Advisory Panel recommends that parents supervise twice-daily brushing. So that the biofilm or plaque that constantly forms on and between the teeth is removed from these surfaces and from the margins where the gums and teeth meet. Establishing effective brushing techniques early in childhood is critical. Habits are far more likely to “stick” when they are introduced sooner rather than later in life. So please, always be there to assist children under the age of eight to brush their teeth.
A healthy smile looks great on everyone!
The latest Oral Health Care Study found Aussies cared more about the appearance of their teeth (and the freshness of their breath) than their dental and gum health. Healthy, clean teeth and gums are attractive teeth and gums. As cavities appear on your teeth they may look like dark spots and stains. Also gums that recede due to periodontitis can make your teeth look “longer” and out of proportion with the rest of your smile. Yet, oral health and a stunning smile don’t always go hand in hand. You may be fine with the look of your smile and still have trouble brewing. Likewise, your teeth and gums may be healthy, but you may be concerned by the shape of a tooth, or by a “gummy” smile. In these and other cases, dentists can provide you with advice and make suggestions about possible cosmetic procedures to boost an otherwise healthy smile.
Brush up on your oral health awareness
Tooth decay remains one of the most prevalent chronic diseases worldwide. Sadly, many of our fellow Aussies don’t understand that tooth decay and other oral conditions are largely preventable. Reduce your risk and learn about ways to improve your oral hygiene with our friendly, non-judgmental team at Smile in Style. To schedule an appointment at the Moonee Ponds rooms call 03 8400 4104 or the Sunbury rooms call 03 8001 6021. You can also book online at www.smileinstyle.com.au