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This year, the Australian Dental Association has designated August 5th to 11th as Australian Dental Health Week.
Australian Dental Health Week is an annual event that raises awareness of issues related to Australia’s dental health.
This year, the ADA has chosen “How’s Your Oral Tracking?” as its theme, and that theme has two underlying questions.
First, the question is if you are you taking the steps you should to ensure proper oral health? The second question is, how are you sure that you are on track?
In other words, how are you monitoring what you do to ensure or improve your oral health?
And these are important questions for the busiest among us, but they are also important questions for those among us who are youngest and oldest.
In these populations, it can be challenging to keep track of dental hygiene and health.
So, this Dental Health Week your friends at Smiles First Dental are going to discuss how to ensure the dental health of seniors and children stays on track, and how you can help!
Dental Health Week and the Young
Sometimes, because they have temporary teeth, we don’t think too carefully about the dental health of children.
But, in reality, childhood is one of the most important times in a person’s dental development as it lays down oral hygiene habits that will last a lifetime.
This is why Dental Health Week should be seen as a great opportunity to introduce your children to the importance of oral hygiene.
Look on the web to find any Dental Health Week events in your neighbourhood. Or, go to the ADA’s Dental Health Week website and download an informative, colourful, printable poster aimed at educating children.
The downloadable content also contains content for parents who are teaching oral hygiene to their children.
Some suggestions include:
- Start oral hygiene early. You can begin by brushing a child’s gums, long before a tooth comes in.
- Be stingy with toothpaste. A blob the size of a pea is all you need.
- Make brushing fun by timing it with songs, videos, or phone apps.
- Start dental visits early. By age one or after the first tooth erupts
- Use positive reinforcement during dental visits. Praise and support is the way to go!
Another way to use positive reinforcement is to keep track of children’s progress on a calendar, chart, or with stars, and when they reach certain milestones, reward them.
Don’t miss this opportunity to get your children started on the path to a strong, attractive smile and healthy teeth and gums!
The Senior Track
As we age, our bodies become less efficient at fighting back against illness, decay, bacteria, etc. This means that problems that once might have been minor need to be addressed immediately.
Consequently, close tracking of oral hygiene is important for older Australians. It can be too easy to lose track of oral hygiene and suffer from dire consequences.
Here are just a few things that older Australians should be looking out for in their oral health:
- Darkened teeth
- Dry mouth
- Root decay
- Gum disease
- Tooth loss
- Uneven jawbone
- Denture-induced stomatitis
- Oral lesions
Why is oral hygiene more difficult as we age?
The answer is a combination of things.
Decreased effectiveness of routine hygiene. Many conscientious seniors stay on top of their brushing, flossing and regular dental visits.
But age brings different habits and obstacles. Reduced dexterity and flexibility can limit the effectiveness of brushing and flossing, leading to bacteria growth, plaque, gum disease, and more.
In some cases, retirement is accompanied by reduced wages and insurance coverage, which makes visits to dental offices more daunting.
Getting around can also become more complicated, also making trips to the dentist seem less appealing.
Memory problems such as dementia to make it harder to keep track of oral hygiene and some memory issues are accompanied by physical symptoms that also impede oral hygiene.
In these cases, a family member or carer may be required to keep track of dental health.
What is critical is that oral hygiene/care needs to continue.
To take one example, the elderly are more likely to suffer from oral cancers (if they have teeth or not), and the best way to catch that early is visiting your dentist.
So, young, old, or in between, make sure someone is tracking your oral health!
Dental Care at Smiles First Dental
Smiles First Dental is your trusted dentist in Northmead in Greater Western Sydney. The appearance of your smile and your oral health and are important to us.
Our highly trained staff treats all dental issues, including complicated problems related to other health conditions.
We are happy to treat patients of any age!
We make life a little bit easier for our patients by offering weekend appointments and late hours on weekdays. In addition, we are conveniently located near public transportation on James Ruse Dr.
GAP FREE CHECK UP AND CLEAN
We offer all patients gap-free check-ups, cleans and all preventative treatments if you are in a private health fund ($180 for patients not in a private health fund).
We are located at 19/5-7 Kleins Rd in Northmead.