Dental Health Week (6 to 12 August) is the Australian Dental Association’s major annual oral health promotion event, and this year it comes with the semi-cheeky slogan, “Watch Your Mouth”.
The aim of the week is to educate Australians about the importance of maintaining good oral health by promoting four key messages:
- Brush teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste
- Clean in-between teeth once a day (with floss or interdental brushes)
- Eat a healthy balanced diet and limit sugar intake
- Regularly visit the dentist for check-ups and preventive treatment.
And why should we care about these messages? Because some aspects of Australian dental health are not quite where they should be:
- 65% of Australians haven’t seen a dentist in the last two years
- Just under 50% of Australians only brush once-a-day
- Nearly 40% never floss or clean-in-between their teeth
- Over 73% of young people (14-18 years) are consuming too much sugar.
Let’s take a closer look at the ADA points.
Brush with fluoride toothpaste
Many people don’t give much thought to how teeth should be brushed. We squeeze on some toothpaste and scrub back and forth. But as your Alex Bratic Dental Care dentist will tell you, how you brush your teeth matters a great deal.
Here is the right way to brush:
- Brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes, twice a day.
- Use a toothbrush with small bristles, a small head, and a flexible neck.
- Clean your teeth systematically, holding the toothbrush at the gumline at a 45- degree angle.
- Don’t press too hard as high pressure can harm gums and tooth enamel.
How to choose your toothpaste
There are many toothpastes on the market, but you should choose one that contains fluoride. Fluoride strengthens teeth, fighting decay by making them more resistant to attacks from sugar and acid.
Fluoride can also help remineralise teeth, making them stronger. Depending on your risk of dental decay your Alex Bratic Dental Care dentist will recommend a type of toothpaste best suited to you.
Most dentists agree you shouldn’t use toothpaste for children under 18 months of age. For children aged 18 months to six years, use a pea-sized amount of low fluoride toothpaste. Adults should supervise children brushing their teeth until the age of eight to ensure they don’t swallow the toothpaste.
Clean in-between teeth
Cleaning between your teeth is also key, as nearly 50% of the tooth surface is located there. The ADA suggests:
- Make flossing part of your oral hygiene
- Floss at least once a day.
- Ask your dentist to demonstrate the correct flossing technique.
- Ask your dentist if interdental aids will complement your flossing.
- Your children should floss as soon as two of their teeth touch.
If flossing is difficult for you, consider a floss threader (a nylon loop through which you thread the floss) or floss pick (the floss is held taut between two prongs on a handle).
If those solutions do not work, your Alex Bratic Dental Care dentist can suggest alternatives including:
- Dental pick
- Water irrigation
- Interdental brushes
- Power Flossers (mechanical flossers)
Learn more about dental tools here
Eat a healthy balanced diet and limit sugar intake
Ever since we were children, we have heard the advice to eat well and cut back on sugar. And this is not only good for your health, but your dental health as well. Here is how the ADA summarises this healthy approach:
- Limit your sugar intake as it is the single biggest cause of tooth decay.
- Fluoridated tap water is best.
- Read the ingredients panel on food products as many have hidden sugars.
- Choose teeth friendly foods such as cheese, nuts and vegetables.
- Avoid snacking and grazing
The other point is that eating well, plenty of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and nutritious foods helps support your teeth, gums, and jawbones, as well as supporting overall health.
Visit Alex Bratic Dental Care at least twice a year
Regular check-ups are a key part of keeping your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy. This means you should visit your dentist regularly, at least once a year! For some patients with specific needs, more visits may be part of a sensible dental plan. During your check-up, dentists can look for conditions that you might not notice including early signs of gum disease and tooth decay. Dentists can also assess for jaw problems, and catch issues like oral cancer early when they have the highest chances of successful treatment.
Comfort, Convenience, and Excellent Care at Alex Bratic
Alex Bratic Dental Care in Beenleigh delivers the very best in dental services to patients of all ages. If you, your child, or a family member needs a smile fix, or just a checkup, we’re here for you!
Alex Bratic Dental Care is located on City Road near the Pacific Motorway near Beenleigh Station, with convenient public transport nearby and free onsite parking.
Call (07) 3287 2627 or visit us at 113 City Road in Beenleigh.