Oral health is key to prevent diseases

2019-04-16 06:00
Act on Mouth Health is the theme for this year’s World Oral Health Day.

Act on Mouth Health is the theme for this year’s World Oral Health Day.

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Oral ill-health, which is a global problem for around 90% of the world’s population, will result in tooth decay, gum disease or other oral diseases at some point in the lives of people.

In South Africa, where there are limited dental public health services, an estimated 60% of primary school children already have dental decay and the majority will not receive treatment.

Fortunately, most oral diseases are preventable. Prevention was the key message at this year’s World Oral Health Day on Wednesday 20 March. The FDI World Dental Federation, an international body that represents millions of dentists across the world, is calling on everyone to take action to prevent oral disease and protect their overall health, with the theme Say Ahh: Act on Mouth Health.

Local oral hygiene expert, Ivohealth’s Dirna Grobbelaar, agrees that taking action and following an effective daily oral care routine is vital to maintaining a healthy mouth for life. She recommends these three daily steps for good oral health:

.Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, using a manual or power brush toothbrush. World Oral Health Day tip: don’t rinse with water straight after brushing, simply spit out any excess toothpaste

.Clean in-between the teeth every day, using floss or tiny interdental brushes. If you’re not sure how to do it correctly, or what tool to use, ask your dentist or oral hygienist

.Rinse either as a final step, after eating or when brushing isn’t possible. Use an alcohol-free mouthwash containing fluoride or chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva and naturally ‘rinse’ the mouth.

In addition to your daily three-step oral care routine, the World Oral Health Day campaign recommends several lifestyle tips for a healthy mouth, including:

.Eat a nutritious diet and limit high sugary snacks and drinks. In a bid to reduce non-communicable “lifestyle” diseases, including dental caries, the World Health Organisation (WHO) now recommends reducing “free” sugar consumption to less than 5% of total energy intake.

.Don’t smoke, and limit alcohol. Tobacco and alcohol increase the risk of gum disease and oral cancer. If you use a mouthwash, choose an alcohol-free variety.

.If you do contact sport, protect your teeth with a mouth guard.

Grobbelaar advises that everyone has regular dental check-ups and cleanings.

“If possible see the dentist at least once a year and ideally have a professional scale and polish every six months. The dentist or oral hygienist can remove plaque and tar that you are unable to remove by brushing. If not removed, the build-up will irritate the gums and cause gum disease.”

Prevention, early detection and prompt treatment will help you reduce the risk of oral diseases and ensure the best treatment outcome. For the sake of your health, it’s time to wise-up on your oral hygiene and Act on Mouth Health.V For expert oral care advice, speak to your dental professional or visit www.ivohealth.co.za.V To test your oral health know-how complete the World Oral Health Day checklist visit www.worldoralhealthday.org


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