Dental hygiene begins with children’s dentistry and continues with preventative dental care and professional dental service as an adult. We do plenty of all three in our Joondalup office. In 2006, the Australian Government produced a report called “Improving Oral Health and Access to Dental Care,” which was part of the “Healthier Future for All Australians Interim Report, December 2008.”
The report touched on a lot of subjects, but discussed preventative dentistry and revealed its statistical importance in chapter 11, part 3, called “Identifying the Case for Change.” Here are some of the highlights.
How Oral Health Affects Overall Well-Being
When a person’s teeth are healthy, it can make eating, speaking and socialising infinitely more comfortable than when a person’s mouth is causing them chronic or acute pain. Oral health is a major contributor to overall well-being. It can affect one’s work habits, attitudes and their productivity at work.
Poor oral health, whether in the gums (periodontal disease) or in the teeth (tooth decay), can significantly detract from a person’s quality of life. It can cause pain, discomfort, infection and even social embarrassment. Because it can be embarrassing, it is often called a “silent epidemic.”
One out of three of Australians reported that their dental health made it more difficult to eat. One out of four report that they suffer a degree of pain and/or discomfort that they avoid eating many foods altogether. Almost as many reported that they are “embarrassed” or self-conscious due to oral health problems. This embarrassment can affect how an individual interacts with their community, even to a point of affecting their ability to find suitable employment.
The Link Between Oral Health and General State of Health
Oral disease is bad enough on its own, but it can lead to complications in one’s overall health. Periodontal disease in particular has been linked to many serious health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, low birth weight and premature birth.
Conversely, oral disease can also be a symptom of many systemic conditions, including diabetes, HIV infection, hepatitis C, aspiration pneumonia, infective endocarditis and nutritional deficiencies.
In Australia alone, as many as 50,000 hospital admissions in 2005 were classified as “avoidable” and attributed to complications of oral disease.
Preventative Care: the Best Protection against Oral Disease
Most common oral diseases, such as oral cancers, gum disease and tooth decay, are preventable to some extent. In addition, the earlier they are detected, the better the outcome in most cases.
According to a report by the Australian Institute of Health, school-based dental services and fluoridation have “significantly improved” the oral health of children and young adults in the last 20 to 30 years. Young adults were found to have rates of tooth decay approximately half of those of their parents’ generation.
Sadly, a 2008 report commissioned for the National Health and Hospitals Reform Committee indicated that tooth decay was on its way back up in young Australians by as much as 20%, due to a decline in the availability and participation of school dental programs. Numerous studies indicate that poor oral health in childhood predicts to poor oral health in adulthood.
What it Means to You
Every study and every statistic indicates that it is important to take care of your oral health. Failure to address oral health issues not only leads to those issues worsening, but can also lead to decreased overall health conditions. Also, it is important to identify and address oral health issues because they can be a symptom of a far worse medical condition.
1300 Great Smile
At 1300 Great Smile, we can help you identify and address your oral health issues. After cleaning and a thorough examination, we can immediately begin to address issues such as tooth decay or periodontal disease. We also provide services such as preventative dental care, children’s dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, implant dentistry, teeth whitening and porcelain laminate veneers, all in the comfort of our Joondalup office.
Don’t wait any longer than necessary. Take control of your oral health. To schedule an appointment, call 1300 Great Smile:(08) 9404 9500