Despite people have more access to information and knowledge about dental hygiene than ever before, dentists are not seeing enough improvement in dental hygiene, even among children.
This week is Dental Health Week and according to figures released by the Australian Dental Association, 30 per cent of Australian adults have untreated tooth decay, and poor oral health is significantly associated with major chronic diseases.
Australian Dental Association NSW’s Orange-based president Dr Sabrina Manickam said this year’s theme is about encouraging people to visit the dentist no matter how busy their life is.
“Sixty-five per cent of adults haven’t visited a dentist in two years,” she said.
Dr Manickam said tooth decay and gum disease were preventable and people need to think about how much sugar they and their children consume, drink fluoridated water, brush teeth twice a day and floss.
“I don’t think we are seeing more kids [with tooth decay] but we are still seeing kids with dental health issues,” she said.
“We are seeing a lot of kids who have to go to hospital to have teeth extracted, in 2015-16 in NSW there were 16,693 possibly preventable hospital admissions for a dental condition.
“If dental disease leads to a serious infection, it can be life threatening.”
Dr Manickam said oral health is linked to general health and most people can afford toothpaste and a toothbrush.
Although people living outside capital cities have been found to be more likely to suffer complete tooth loss, have missing teeth, wear dentures and have untreated tooth decay, Dr Manickam said an increasing number of dentists are working in regional areas and there are affordable clinics.