Dental Health Week, which takes place in the first full week of August (6 to 12 August), is the Australian Dental Association’s (ADA) major annual oral health promotion event. This year’s theme is #watchyourmouth.
The aim of the week is to educate Australians about the importance of maintaining good oral health, by promoting four key messages. And during Dental Health Week, the ADA and A Plus Dental are encouraging everyone to visit their regular dentist and if you don’t have one, to find one and get your oral health back on track.
This is important because not all Australians are lucky enough to have perfect dental health. For instance, 65% of Australians haven’t seen a dentist in the last two years, and nearly 40% never floss or clean in-between their teeth.
That’s why Dental Health Week is so important with its emphasis on educating people about good oral health practices.
What Are The Four Key Messages?
The ADA’s four key messages are:
- 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.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these points.
Brush with fluoride toothpaste
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to how you brush your teeth, beyond squeezing on some toothpaste and scrubbing back and forth. But such scrubbing is not only not enough – it can even be counterproductive. The ADA wants all Australians to know exactly how to brush their teeth:
- Brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes, twice a day.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head and flexible neck.
- Teeth should be cleaned systematically, starting at the back with the toothbrush bristle at the gum line on a 45° angle, brushing gently in a circular motion.
- If you scrub too hard from side to side, you can cause your gums to recede, and damage your tooth enamel. Choose a toothpaste with fluoride (NOT for infants and young children) and replace your toothbrush every 3 months.
If you have limited dexterity, a powered toothbrush may be a good option since it does a lot of the brushing for you.
Clean in-between teeth
Nearly half the surface area of your teeth lies between them, and it needs cleaning, too!
The ADA suggestions for in-between teeth cleaning are simple:
- Floss at least once a day.
- Ask your dentist to demonstrate the correct flossing technique.
- Your children should floss too, start as soon as your child has two teeth that touch.
And the techniques are (mainly) simple also:
- Wind approximately 45 cm of floss around your middle fingers and grip it tightly between your thumbs and index fingers.
- Keeping the thumb and index close together, gently guide the floss between the teeth, taking care not to harm the gums. Be sure to work both sides of the gap to ensure the sides of both teeth are cleaned equally.
- To clean the tooth at the point it meets the gums, curl the floss and insert it gently under the gum.
Your dentist may also recommend the following items to complement your flossing regimen, particularly if you have coordination/flexibility issues:
- Interdental cleaners
- Interdental tips
- Floss threaders
Learn more about dental home tools here
Eat a healthy balanced diet and limit sugar intake
Our eating habits and diet play a major role in tooth decay. Sugars in the food and drinks we eat are consumed by bacteria that excrete acids that attack the outer layer of tooth enamel to cause decay. Further, a bad diet can harm the immune system, making gum disease and infection more likely.
The ADA recommends:
- Limit your sugar intake as it is the largest single 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.
Visit Your A Plus Dental dentist on a regular schedule
Regular dental visits are essential in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. During your checkup, your dentist (or hygienist) will likely evaluate the health of your gums, perform a head and neck examination and examine your mouth for any indications of oral cancer, diabetes or vitamin deficiencies. Your dentist or hygienist will clean your teeth and give you any oral hygiene tips they think are appropriate.
It All Adds Up at A Plus Dental!
At A Plus Dental, our goal is to give our Campbelltown area patients, from infants to seniors, with caring, relaxed treatments in a calm and welcoming environment. When you choose A Plus Dental, you take the next step towards a beautiful, healthy smile with teeth that feel great in your mouth!!
We have over 30 years of experience combined and treat each of our patients with the utmost care and respect.
$99 New patient deal which includes Check up, Cleaning, Fluoride treatment and two X-rays.
Call (02) 4627 3833 or visit us at Suite 3/300 Queen Street in Campbelltown.