Sugary drinks consumed by children, teenagers and young adults, snacking between meals, as well as issues involved with elderly people keeping their teeth longer are the main issues facing dentists in Orange.
Charles Sturt University dental clinic clinical director Dr Heather Cameron said the issues along with a reluctance by people to visit the dentist or even brush their teeth regularly have been noticeable in both Orange and Bathurst in the past few years.
The issues raised in the lead up to Dental Health Week, which starts on August 6 and has the theme, Watch Your Mouth.
“Although dental health is better than it was 30 years ago, it’s been declining a bit in the last 10 to 15 years because of people’s changes in diets,” Dr Cameron said.
“Sports and energy drink consumption is causing erosion in enamel on teeth.
“We also see people in there 30s and 40s who sit at their desk in an office will sit at their desk and sip on soft drink throughout the day instead of drinking it in one go.
“Don’t just sip on soft drink or juice, it’s better to drink it all at one go and have it at meal times rather than between meals, have water between meals.”
Dr Cameron also reminded people to brush teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
“Lots of people who are otherwise looking after themselves very well but aren’t brushing their teeth twice a day,” she said.
She said she’s seen people who only brush their teeth once a day or in some cases once a week and sometimes parents with young children will brush the children’s teeth but then forget their own.
When it comes to children’s dental hygiene she said parents and caregivers should supervise and help children up to the age of nine to make sure they are brushing all their teeth correctly.
Dr Cameron said although sugar is the issue for younger people there are also more elderly people requiring dental work.
“A lot of older people are keeping their teeth longer, which opens up new issues,” she said.
“They have had lots of fillings or might need lots of crowns or have a dry mouth or cannot look after themselves.”
She said those issues are affecting people in their late 70s, 80s and 90s.
“We’ve probably also got people who are younger than that who have a number of medical problems that means looking after their teeth is a challenge,” Dr Cameron said.
Statistics from Australian Dental Health Study conducted by APMI Partners in December 2017:
- 65 per of Australians haven’t visited the dentist in the last two years
- In the last 12 months, only 13 per cent of the adult population had seen a dentist
- 69 per cent of Australians visit the dentist “only when they have a problem”
- 15 per cent of the population don’t go to the dentist because they “don’t have the time”
- 26 per cent of the population visit for a check up
Reasons for dental visits
- 69 per cent of the population visit a dentist for specific problems
- 81 per cent of young adults (18-25 years) only go to the dentist when they have a problem
Dental health / wellbeing
- 52 per cent of Australians brush their teeth twice a day
- Nearly 40 per cent of the population never use floss or other products to clean between their teeth each day
- Nearly 70 per cent of Australians are unaware that medical conditions such as asthma and diabetes can impact their oral health
- Four in five parents are unaware that the first dental visit should occur by the age of one
Statistics from Australia’s Oral Health Tracker conducted in March 2018:
- 47.8 per cent consume too much sugar
- 51 per cent brush their teeth twice daily
- 25.5 per cent have untreated tooth decay
- 9.9 per cent are decay-free
- 19.8 per cent suffer from gum disease
- 1.6 per 100,000 people die due to oral cancer
- 16.2 per cent reported toothaches in the last 12 months
- 15.5 per cent have severe tooth loss (fewer than 21 teeth)
Australian children and teenagers
- 68.5 per cent aged between five and 14 years brush teeth twice daily
- 70.3 per cent aged between nine and 13 years consume too much sugar
- 34.3 per cent aged between five and six years have experienced decay in their primary teeth
- 27.1 per cent aged between five and 10 years have untreated tooth decay in their primary teeth
- 55.8 per cent aged between five and six years have had an early childhood dental visit before the age of five
- 73.1 per cent aged between 14 and 18 years consume too much sugar
- 23.5 per cent of young people aged between six and 14 years have experienced decay in their permanent teeth
- 10.9 per cent of young people have untreated tooth decay in their permanent teeth