Australia’s oral health tracking the wrong way

adult oral health
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The increasing prevalence of tooth decay and gum disease among Australian adults are disturbing new trends in the nation’s oral health, according to the recently released Adult Oral Health Tracker progress report.

Australians adults are keeping their teeth for longer—but one in three of us is walking around with untreated tooth decay, while one in four has periodontal disease with gaping periodontal pockets 4mm or deeper.

The Tracker sets targets for a reduction in the prevalence of these conditions as well as 12 other risk factors. It is a product of the Australian Dental Association (ADA) in collaboration with the Australian Health Policy Collaboration.

“The Oral Health Tracker 2020 is a progress report that provides an update on how Australian adults’ oral health is tracking compared to the previous results in 2018 and compared to the targets for 2025,” ADA’s oral health advisor Dr Mikaela Chinotti said.

“The results are in, and for gum disease and tooth decay, they’re not good. These conditions are largely preventable, yet they’ve increased in prevalence and we continue to get further away from our goal of improving Australia’s overall oral health.

“We’ve reached our set target for the number of adults with fewer than 21 teeth. This shows that Australians are keeping their teeth for longer,” Dr Chinotti added.

“But at the same time we’re seeing more disease. For tooth decay and gum disease we need to be targeting the causes—like poor oral hygiene and free sugar consumption.”

Throughout 2020 the ADA is executing a number of strategies to improve the nation’s oral health by putting a spotlight on sugar.

These include lobbying the government to create a levy on sugar-sweetened beverages and educating people about the harm sugar does to teeth and how to interpret food labels.

This article was sourced from an ADA press release.

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