Dental Health Week takes place this year from 6 to 12 August and is the Australian Dental Association’s major annual oral health promotion event.
Its aim is to educate Australians about the importance of maintaining good oral health and this year’s theme is Watch Your Mouth.
Dr Peter Alldritt is a consultant to the Oral Health Committee at the Australian Dental Association and has a number of key messages for Australians this year.
“We’ve all seen on the TV or read that diet is a problem in Australia.
“A poor diet is linked to a number of issues such as obesity and heart disease.”
It is also a factor in the rates of increasing tooth decay.
“Tooth decay is the most chronic disease in Australia today.”
He advised patients to steer clear of sugar and to brush frequently.
“Most people are aware if they consume soft drink or lollies of the sugar content, but you also need to consider hidden sugars,” he advised.
Savoury foods or foods that appear to be healthy - low fat yogurts for example – can be very high in sugar.
It’s important to check labels when you shop for hidden sugar content and try to reduce your consumption.
“We know from data collected by the Oral Health Tracker – which is basically a report card on oral health – only 52 per cent of Australians brush their teeth twice a day.”
Dr. Alldritt advised that you need to brush twice a day for two minutes with a fluoridated toothpaste.
“There is a a lot of research that tells us fluoridated toothpaste makes your tooth enamel stronger and more resistant to decay.”
He also advised that you spit your toothpaste out and don’t rinse your toothpaste out. “This leaves a higher concentrate of flouride in your mouth.”
“You also need to clean between your teeth once a day.”
Regular Dental Visits
Although the norm is to visit the dentist once a year, Dr Alldritt said it’s important to assess each patient individually.
Depending on your diet, oral hygiene, genetics or recurring issues, you may need see your dentist more regularly.
Dr Alldritt advised that not smoking and the use of mouthguards during sport was also vitally important to save your teeth and watch your mouth.