Dental health week tackles sex, drugs and oral health

Teens and young adults will always want to have fun - but they should think about what they put in their mouths.
Teens and young adults will always want to have fun – but they should think about what they put in their mouths.

As part of Dental Health Week (DHW) 2013 the ADA is helping young adults make sure their teeth make it well past their 30th birthday with the release of the Young Person’s Oral Survival Guide. The Guide addresses commonplace issues such as binge drinking and smoking, but also the more taboo subjects of drug use and oral sex. The Guide can be accessed from the DHW website once the week-long campaign begins on 5th August: Dental Health Week (DHW) is the Australian Dental Association Inc. (ADA)’s major oral health promotion and education campaign that occurs during the first week of August each year.

Chair of the Oral Health Committee, Dr Peter Alldritt said: “Young adults enter what’s often referred to as the ‘time of their lives’ (their 20s). Understandably health issues such as cancer, let alone oral cancer, are not at the forefront of young adults’ concerns.

“It is absolutely essential that this perception changes. Many people are aware of the general health risks related to excessive smoking, drinking of alcohol, highly sugary and/or acidic drinks, unprotected oral sex or improper care of lip and tongue piercings, but most people don’t know that all of these behaviours can damage your teeth, gums or mouth.

“The Guide explains all the oral health risks that young adults are exposed to if these activities are not undertaken safely and in moderation. More importantly, it outlines ways in which young adults can reduce risk but still have fun. It reminds them that they are not ‘bulletproof’ and need to take care of their oral health. The Guide is essential reading for every young adult to ensure that their teeth make it beyond the age of 30.

“The ADA is suggesting that all young adults become aware of the risks associated with their actions, even if they plan to do them anyway. Being aware does not require becoming a teetotaller or a prude. Whatever you put in your mouth or do with your mouth, do so responsibly, in moderation, and with the appropriate precautions. Your mouth will thank you in the long run.”

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