Australians still have a ways to go to achieve optimal oral health

Australians' oral health
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Using the occasion of the recent World Oral Health Day on Saturday 20 March, with its global message ‘Be proud of your mouth’, the Australian Dental Association highlighted their own research that finds more people are looking after their mouths better—though it also noted there are still some bad oral health habits that need eradicating. 

“When we started tracking the nation’s oral health habits in 2011, we found 56 per cent of people were brushing twice a day as reported in the 2018 Oral Health Tracker, a report card on preventable oral diseases and their risk factors,” the ADA’s oral health promoter Dr Mikaela Chinotti said.

“While this then dipped to 47 per cent, now it’s back to 53 per cent. Hopefully, this means people are getting the message and realising that if they look after their teeth, they should last a lifetime.”

But Dr Chinotti also added: “Worryingly, of those respondents who only brushed once a day, 12 per cent thought brushing more often wasn’t good for the teeth, while 37 per cent said they didn’t need to.

“And 29 per cent of those who didn’t brush twice a day said this was because it caused pain and discomfort—which points to a very real need for these people to see their dentist.”

Other ADA consumer survey findings which demonstrate that improvements need to be made include:

  • Only a quarter of adults floss at least once a day, with 31 per cent reporting to ‘never’ clean between their teeth.
  • Two-thirds of adults aren’t aware that some medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease can impact on, or be impacted by, their oral health.
  • 13 per cent of parents reported their children drank soft drink daily, while 39 per cent consumed soft drink 2-5 times per week. Just one can of soft drink takes people above the recommended daily sugar intake and can contribute not just to tooth decay but also weight gain. 
  • 10 per cent of parents report taking their child to the dentist only when they have a problem and 60 per cent do so every 12-24 months. 

“These results show there’s still a way to go in improving the nation’s oral health, particularly when it comes to oral health literacy, showing the importance of starting dental visits and oral health education from a young age,” Dr Chinotti said.

“Our message for World Oral Health Day—brushing twice a twice with a soft brush and a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste, cleaning between the teeth daily, eating a nutritious diet low in sugar and seeing a dentist regularly will all go a long way to caring for the health of your mouth.”

This article was sourced from an ADA media release.

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