It wasn't too long ago that losing teeth was considered a normal part of getting older. With modern dentistry and good daily habits, more people are now keeping their natural teeth into old age, but many still don't give their teeth and gums the care they deserve.
Keeping your smile for life is the theme of Dental Health Week 2021, the Australian Dental Association's annual campaign to improve awareness of good oral hygiene for all ages. If you want to win the fight against tooth decay and gum disease, following the ADA's 4 key messages is a good start.
To find out more about Dental Health Week and how to get involved, visit dentalhealthweek.com.au. If you want more advice about how to care for your teeth and gums and lower your oral health risks, read more dental care tips below.
For many of us, brushing our teeth is something we learn as children and don't give much thought to as adults. Unfortunately, that can mean that bad habits never get corrected unless your dentist gives you advice about how to improve your brushing routine.
Brushing twice a day helps to reduce the build up of plaque from food and drink you consume during the day and during the night when less saliva is produced to clean your mouth. Your dentist may recommend more frequent brushing if you need to improve your oral health.
Don't brush your teeth too soon after having food or drinks, as these may leave acids on your teeth that can soften the enamel and make it more easily damaged by brushing. Rinse your mouth with water instead and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing.
Brushing in a back and forth motion could mean your teeth aren't getting cleaned properly, while brushing too roughly or pressing too hard could even damage your teeth. For the best results from toothbrushing:
One common question people ask their dentist is whether they should use an electric toothbrush. There is some evidence that using a powered toothbrush can remove more plaque, but this can depend on the individual.
Some people can benefit from going electric, particularly those who find it hard to use a standard toothbrush, such as young children and people with medical conditions that limit their mobility. An electric toothbrush takes care of some of the movement for you, and some models include lights and sounds that can make brushing more appealing to kids.
Only 1 in 4 Australian adults clean between their teeth at least once daily, according to an ADA consumer survey. Floss can reach the areas your toothbrush can't, and regular flossing helps to remove plaque and trapped food, lowering your oral health risks and freshening your breath.
Flossing should be done once a day, preferably before you brush your teeth in the morning. Flossing should take at least 2 minutes to be done properly, but it may take longer, especially if you have braces or misaligned teeth and need to take more care.
Flossing may feel uncomfortable if you don't do it often, but your mouth should get used to it with regular flossing, or your dentist might recommend an alternative. For the best results using traditional floss:
If you don't like the feel of floss, or your teeth have tight gaps that are hard to insert floss between, your dentist can discuss other options to clean between your teeth. These could include floss threaders, interdental brushes or electric flossers using water jets.
Don't use a toothpick or other sharp objects to pick your teeth clean, as these could chip or scratch the tooth.
The fight against plaque can get a lot easier when you cut down on sugar and replace it with food and drink that are beneficial for your teeth.
47% of Australian adults consume too much sugar, according to the ADA. This is based on the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation that the average adult should limit their added sugar intake to 24 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar per day.
With some soft drinks containing as much as 9 teaspoons per can, and many processed foods and drinks containing added sugar, reducing your sugar intake involves paying close attention to what's going into your shopping trolley.
A tooth-friendly diet doesn't just mean reducing sugar, but choosing replacements that actually help your teeth.
How often do you visit the dentist? It's recommended that most people have a check-up and clean at least once a year, or more often if your dentist thinks you could benefit. According to ADA figures, only 27% of Australian adults have regular check-ups and 68% usually visit the dentist when there's already a problem.
Not keeping up with your scheduled appointments increases the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health problems, as your dentist won't be able to monitor the signs as closely. Your dental visit may include:
Is it time for your dental check-up, or you do you want to know more about caring for your teeth and gums? Call our dentists at Sydney CBD Dental on (02) 9232 3900 for advice to book an appointment at our George Street dental clinic at a time that's good for you.
Australian Dental Association. Dental Health Week 2021 [Online] 2021 [Accessed July 2021] Available from: dentalhealthweek.com.au
Healthdirect. Teeth cleaning [Online] 2020 [Accessed July 2021] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/teeth-cleaning
Healthdirect. How to cut down on sugar [Online] 2020 [Accessed July 2021] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/cutting-down-on-sugars