You might have been told to watch your tongue at least once in your lifetime, but now locals are being told to watch their mouths, and it’s not because they’ve been rude.
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) is using some cheeky humour for this year’s Dental Health Week, asking Australians to ‘Watch Your Mouth’, but the key messages are no joke.
With 65 per cent of Australians failing to visit the dentist in more than two years, this year dentists are enforcing that good oral health is about more than brushing your teeth.
Dr Anthony Boyden, a local dentist from Penrith Dentists, said oral health affected more than just a person’s smile.
“Oral health is so important on many levels, such as the ability to eat and talk, appearance and self-esteem, and general health and wellbeing,” he said.
Running from August 6 to 12, the week will also highlight the holistic approach needed for good mouth health. It’s more than just a simple brushing routine.
“To keep a good oral health balance, reduce the acid attack by sugary foods and drinks, and increase our consumption of tap water because it makes saliva,” Dr Boyden said.
“We can chew sugar free gum to promote that saliva and pump it around our teeth, and certainly we’ve got to remove that plaque thoroughly twice a day to make sure we don’t allow longer term acid production on our teeth.”
According to the ADA, the most common chronic disease in Australia is tooth decay, with an alarming 26 per cent of adults living with the disease untreated.
And while it’s no secret that a trip to the dentist can be unnerving for many, Dr Boyden stressed that early prevention was key.
“Whether it’s a small child, or a valued senior, prevention of problems is paramount,” he said.
“Prevention through regular check-ups can avoid sad and traumatic problems that could have probably been fixed much easier and at a much lower cost if it had been diagnosed and treated sooner.”
Australia’s Oral Health Tracker revealed earlier this year that only half of us brush our teeth the recommended twice a day. Regular brushing is a key starting point to better oral health.
For more information and advice on oral health, see your local dentist or visit www.ada.org.au.
Lauren Suttie is the Weekender’s General & Community News journalist.