From the moment they appear, our teeth are important — even our baby teeth. Taking care of them sets us up for a life of good oral and overall health. Despite how common things like tooth decay and gum disease are, it’s actually really not that difficult to care for your oral health. Here’s our advice for the whole family, to stay on top of things and maintain a healthy smile.
Australia’s Dental Report Card
Ever since we were young kids, we’ve been taught that brushing your teeth is one of the most important daily practices to ensure healthy teeth and gums. Unfortunately, a national oral report card by Australia’s Adult Oral Health Tracker* that was published in March 2018 uncovered some alarming statistics regarding the oral health of Australian adults.
- The research showed that currently over 90% of Australians have experienced or are experiencing tooth decay in their permanent teeth. Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in Australia which includes all oral and general health diseases.
- The latest data reveals that over 25% of Australians are failing to seek treatment from their dentist and are living with untreated tooth decay which can lead to oral health complications such as cavities, gum disease and tooth loss.
- Nearly 20% of adults aged over 15 have periodontal pockets greater than 4mm in width. These Periodontal pockets are deep spaces between your teeth and gums that contain plaque and oral bacteria. As these periodontal pockets develop, it can cause your gums to start pulling away and detach from your teeth irreversibly, leading to receding gums and potential tooth loss. If you have periodontal pockets, then you probably have gum disease (periodontitis).
- Half of all Australian adults do not brush their teeth twice a day as recommended. Over a 24 hour period, the development of plaque and tooth decay can progress significantly.
- Over 52% of Australian adults consume too much sugar, while the research shows 75% of children consume too much sugar. Excess sugar intake is a major risk factor for tooth decay and erosion.
- Poor childhood oral health habits are a high-risk factor for poor oral health outcomes in adults. Over 22,000 Australian children aged less than 9 years old were hospitalised for oral health problems. All of these cases could have been prevented through proper oral care and hygiene, and access to free dental services via the Children Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS).
The Golden Rule: Brush and Floss At Least Twice a Day
Yes, it’s that same old piece of advice you’ve heard a hundred times before. It really is the number one tip for keeping your mouth healthy by consistently doing your basic daily oral hygiene at home. Many dentists would find themselves struggling for work if more people just took the time to brush and floss daily.
This goes for all members of the family. From grade schoolers to the elderly, everyone benefits from a daily brush and floss.
Ideally, you should brush your teeth prior to eating, or an hour or so after. Brushing your teeth too soon after eating can actually cause problems; your enamel will be slightly softened from acids in the food you ate, and your own saliva. Brushing too soon can wear the enamel down.
When brushing, never apply too much pressure and invest in a good brush. You’re mostly trying to sweep food particles off your teeth, not scrub a dirty floor! While both manual and electric toothbrushes are effective in keeping your teeth clean, an electric toothbrush does make it easier to reduce plaque and gingivitis if the correct brushing technique is not used with a manual toothbrush.
It’s also important to brush your gums as well, but very gently.
Lastly, flossing is often considered a pain, but it is such an important part of daily oral hygiene. It removes particles of food between teeth that a brush just can’t reach properly. The longer pieces of food stay there, the more bacteria and plaque will build on it and the greater the chance of an infection in your gum.
Brushing and flossing are important from the time all the teeth are in place, but children generally have some different dental care instructions. This is because they’re growing so much so rapidly; at each stage of their development, there’s something new to consider to keep their mouths healthy.
One of the most important things with early childhood dentistry is to get them familiar with going to the dentist. Establishing a healthy, positive attitude from their first visit greatly reduces the chance they’ll develop a dental phobia later in life.
The focus on early dental visits is primarily on hygiene and keeping an eye on the development of the teeth and jaws.
Baby’s First Visit
It’s generally advised that a child should start to visit the dentist from around 3 to 6 months of age. They won’t be getting the usual prophylactic clean and oral exam that their parents get; rather, these trips are to get them accustomed to being at the dentist. Typically a child just accompanies a parent to a regular check and clean and sits on their lap.
During these early visits, the dentist or oral hygienist may still have a quick look in the child’s mouth. This just gives them a chance to see if the child’s mouth is developing properly.
If it isn’t, this gives everyone the opportunity to start considering various options for potential treatment plans in the future.
First Proper Dental Appointment
Once the baby teeth have appeared, around a year of age, it’s time to have a proper checkup at the dentist for the first time.
By age 3, most children have all of their baby teeth in place. These start being replaced by permanent teeth around the age of 6. The development of the teeth and jaws are closely monitored at this stage. Problems with baby teeth can indicate there will be problems with adult teeth, which can be addressed before they occur.
Crowding is another issue the dentist will be on the lookout for. If there’s not enough space in the child’s mouth for all the teeth, their teeth will crowd and cause bite problems.
Once the permanent teeth are in place, regular hygiene checkups start resembling what adults go through. Teeth are checked, cleaned, and scaled where necessary. Fillings can be used on cavities, and orthodontics will be discussed for arranging the teeth and bite.
Teeth Care for Teens & Adults
Once you have all of your adult teeth – typically in the early teens – dental care gets a little simpler – just brush and floss – but with many more options for treatment should something go wrong.
Get To Your Regular Dental Checkups
You should visit your dentist once every six months or so, from about 3-5 years old. Some people need more frequent visits, few people need less, but generally going twice a year is the best idea.
Regular dental checkups are an important part of the oral care process. During one of these routine checkups, your dentist or oral hygienist will look for any signs of disease, infection, or damage in the mouth. If plaque has started to build up around your teeth, they can use special scraping tools to remove it. They can also perform oral cancer checks.
Dental x-rays are also good for letting dentists see problems that aren’t visible to the naked eye. A problematic wisdom tooth can be spotted long before it causes pain or issues, for example, and be removed quickly and easily.
Attending your regular checkups gives you that professional eye to make sure everything’s progressing smoothly, and catch problems before they get serious.
Don’t Wait Until You’re In Pain to Get Your Teeth Checked
Infections such as gum and tooth disease don’t hurt straight away. By the time you start to feel pain, the condition has usually hit an advanced stage requiring more intense treatment.
Learn the early signs of gum disease and see your dentist when they begin. Red, bruised, or bleeding gums are never normal. When you notice these symptoms, see your dentist. If there’s any unusual sensation in your teeth or gums, see the dentist.
Early intervention can be the difference between a scrape and clean or maybe a course of antibiotics, and a root canal or tooth extraction. It’s really not worth putting it off!
Whatever age you are, we can provide the dental care you need to enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile! From grandparents to newborns, we’ll take the best care of you and keep your mouth as healthy as possible.
Find Your Best Local Dentist
Your teeth are precious and ensuring that they are well looked after for your whole life is crucial to reduce any painful and costly issues.
In Australia, while the majority of dentists are excellent, when you do find a dentist who provides quality and caring dental services, it makes the whole dental experience so positive.
At Enamel Dental Studio, we work hard to ensure that your time with us is:
- as comfortable as possible,
- provides confidence in the quality and skill of the dental care,
- that problems and solutions are explained in clearly without jargon,
- services provide achieve the best results possible,
- affordable options are provided to allow you to get the cosmetic or general dental care you want,
- and finally, you walk away with that dentist smile!
Enamel Dental Studio services clients from all over Brisbane and Logan, including suburbs such as:
- Rochedale South
- Slacks Creek
- Daisy Hill
- Eight Mile Plains
- Sunnybank Hills
If you are looking for a dental practice in Brisbane with friendly staff and skilled dentists who can provide quality dental care for you and your whole family. Then we encourage you to give us a try and book an appointment today, contact us on 07 3841 6641 or email [email protected].
- * https://www.ada.org.au/Dental-Professionals/Australia-s-Oral-Health-Tracker/Australia-s-Oral-Health-Tracker-Technical-Appendix/ADA_AHPC_Technical-Appendix_07032018. Australia’s Adult Oral Health Tracker is a joint initiative of the Aust. Dental Association (ADA) and the Aust. Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC) with research done by Victoria University Melbourne
- Armfield et al (2009) ‘Dental health of Australia’s teenagers and pre-teen children: the Child Dental Health Survey, Australia 2003–04’, Dental statistics and research series no. 52, AIHW