It is a great honour to join the event at the ADA NSW Headquarters on 7th August 2017 and to meet with the Honourable Brad Hazzard, Minister for Health and Medical Research.

In his speech, Mr Hazzard has emphasized the importance of oral health and its impacts on quality of life. Health inequity, poor oral health, chronic deterioration and delayed dental treatment can lead to painful dental conditions that prevent people from being able to eat, to function normally and can cause significant embarrassment or hardships in life.

Good general health starts with good dental health!

Dental decay is the second most costly diet-related disease in Australia, with an economic impact comparable with heart disease and diabetes.

Dental decay

Dental decay

  1. Poor oral health is significantly associated with major chronic diseases
  • The study by Holmlund et al showed that both periodontal disease and overall tooth loss from any cause are closely related to cardiovascular disease.
  • Holmlund’s more recent study showed the alarming result that a person with fewer than 10 of their own teeth remaining is seven times more likely to die of coronary disease than someone with more than 25 of their own teeth.
  • Periodontal disease is often considered the ‘sixth complication’ of diabetes. (American Academy of Periodontology)
  • Poorly controlled diabetics are especially at risk because they are more likely to develop periodontal disease than well-controlled diabetics. Emerging evidence also suggests that periodontal disease predicts the development of end-stage kidney disease in diabetic patients. (by Shultis WA and others in Diabetes Care)
  • Other strong links are found to be associated with poor oral health include Respiratory diseases, Stroke, Kidney diseases, Peripheral vascular disease, Dementia, Adverse pregnancy outcomes, Aspiration pneumonia, Stomach ulcers, Obesity and Oral cancers.
  1. Poor oral health causes disability
  • In addition to the social impacts and functional limitations, dental problems result in loss of productivity from time off school and work.
  1. Oral health issues and major diseases share common risk factors
  • A multitude of factors, including diet, hygiene, smoking, alcohol use, stress and trauma are common risk factors to a number of other chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and strokes. Therefore, they are likely to occur together and have an impact on each other.
  1. Oral manifestations of systemic diseases are potential indicators of an array of conditions
  • The oral cavity might well be thought as the window to the body. It is also a mirror that reflects and unravels many of the human body’s internal secrets. Some of these manifestations are disease specific and can help to raise some important differential or provisional diagnosis. A comprehensive dental check-up including examining the soft palate, hard palate, tongue, gingiva, oral mucosa, the dentition, periodontium and the salivary gland tissue by an experienced dentist can be life-saving to the patient.

Oral disease is largely preventable. Simple daily routine with correct oral hygiene care can go a long way and to be more productive at work and in school.

Eat Smart, Play Smart and be Tooth Smart!

5 simple steps help you to be back on track for a healthy life and a happy smile:

  1. Eat Healthy by reducing sugary food and drinks
  1. Everything you eat and drink can have a major effect on the health of your teeth and gums. Tooth decay is a diet related disease which is caused when the sugars in the food and drinks you eat are taken up by bacteria; these in turn produce the acids that can attack the outer layer of tooth enamel.
  2. Drink lots of water, watch what you eat and limit snacking between meals are key things to keep in mind.
  3. Healthy food choices include cheese, yogurt, leafy greens, apples, carrots and celery. Foods rich in Calcium, Phosphorous, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Antioxidants, Anthocyanins, Arginine, Polyphenols and foods containing Probiotics and high in Water are all good foods for healthy teeth and gum.
  4. Foods that are acidic, high in sugar, of starch or refined carbohydrates, sticky, hard and dries your mouth are not good choices for teeth and gum. These include soft drinks, sports drinks, alcohols, juices, lollies, packaged food, citrus fruits and ice cubes.
  1. Play-it-safe by wearing custom made mouthguard during sports
  1. Each year, thousands of adults and children are treated for dental injuries that could have been prevented or minimised by simply wearing a mouthguard.
  2. The Australian Dental Association recommends a custom-fitted mouthguard for all Australians who participate in contact sport or sports with high risk of dental injury.
  3. A custom-fitted mouthguard designed by the dentist makes breathing and speaking are a lot easier and is more comfortable to wear and provides superior protection than the ‘boil-and-bite’ over-the-counter mouthguard that is cheaper but loose in the mouth, which can be more dangerous during impact

3.Brush twice a day, with fluoride toothpaste

  1. To gain the maximum benefit from brushing, you should brush for at least two to three minutes, morning and night, using a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head and a flexible neck. The advantage of these toothbrushes is that they remove the plaque and debris from your teeth without damaging your teeth and gums.
  2. You should clean your teeth systematically, starting at the back of your mouth 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 run the risk of causing your gums to recede, as well as damaging the tooth enamel. You should take care to brush carefully along the inner, chewing and outer surfaces.
  3. You should also brush your tongue by gentle scraping forward. This actually reduces the bacteria in your mouth and helps your breath stay fresh.
  4. Fluoride in the toothpaste strengthens teeth, making them more resistant to attacks from sugar and acid, thereby preventing decay. Fluoride can also help remineralise (heal or reverse) early decay.
  5. As the general consensus: you shouldn’t use toothpaste when cleaning the teeth of children under 18 months of age. Instead, use a small soft toothbrush and simply use tap water to wet the brush.
  6. If the child can spit out the toothpaste, you may use a rice-grain-sized amount of low fluoride toothpaste for children aged 18 months to three years old then use a pea-sized amount of low fluoride toothpaste (sometimes labelled junior or children’s) for children aged up to six years old. Adults should always supervise children brushing their teeth until the age of nine to ensure they don’t swallow the toothpaste

4.Use dental floss at least once a day

  1. Pull a 20 to 30cm of dental floss from the floss dispenser.
  2. Wrap the floss around your middle fingers and secure it with your fourth and fifth fingers at the rest position, freeing up your thumbs and index fingers.

3.Grasp 5cm of the floss with your index fingers and thumbs to hold it tightly. Position the floss over the area between teeth then move your index fingers and thumbs towards each other to shorten the working length until it is equal to the width of the tooth

4.Ease the floss between the teeth in a sawing motion firmly with full control until it passes through the contact point. Without cutting it straight into the gum, angle the floss so it hugs the tooth in a “C” shape and follow the contour of the tooth until it reaches the bottom of your gum.

  1. Gently glide the floss up and down the surface of the tooth in a push-pull motion, making sure it goes slightly below the gum line. Keep the pressure of the floss up against the side of the tooth and never onto the gum. With well-controlled and gentle force, the correct technique should not hurt you but you may see some gingival bleeding as expected from an inflammatory response in gingivitis or periodontitis. Don’t worry and keep working. Finally, gently sliding the floss out in the opposite direction in a sawing motion.
  2. Between any two teeth, you need to clean each side of each tooth individually. Shift to a new section of floss is required to clean every new area. Spooling the floss by unwinding a clean, new section from the string of the middle finger of one hand then taking up the slack, used/dirty section by wrapping it onto the middle finger of the other hand. This helps to prevent spreading bacteria from one location to another and to reduce the fraying of the floss.
  3. Try working around your mouth with consistency. Consider beginning with your upper molars on your left side, working in the clockwise direction to floss between all teeth, ending with your lower molars on your left side.
  4. When you have finished flossing, rinse with water or salt water or mouthrinse of your choice.
  5. Other items to consider cleansing interdentally, around dental implant sites or under the pontic of a dental bridge include interdental brushes of various sizes and super floss that require clear instructions by the dentist.
  6. Regular 6 monthly dental check-up with your favourite dentist

Keeping to a 6 monthly dental check-up with a good dentist will ensure your teeth to stay healthy and strong and will help your dentist identify any concerns at early stages and prevent future problems or to treat them timely and effectively.

Looking after your teeth and gum is a worthy investment. Do not let junk food, ill-fitting mouthguard or buying a cheap and low-quality toothbrush be the most expensive thing you do in life. Do not let the fear of seeing the dentist deter you from finding the right dentist you can trust. Do not delay the required dental treatments because it can lead to procedural complexity and higher risks of complications.

The best way to avoid costly dental procedures is to take good care of your teeth. Take ownership of your dental health because everyone deserves an outstanding healthy smile!

Chats Dental has a simple and clear vision that is to provide comprehensive dental services with quality care to the community in order to help everyone to enjoy their healthy smiles! Our happy team with good education and mastery experience makes sure that our every patient is looked after well in every way.

Book now for your dental appointment and enjoy a brilliant smile because you are worthed it!

Dr Catherine Yang, BDS (USyd)