Australia fails its oral health check-up.

To coincide with World Oral Health Day on the 20th March, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) and Australian Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC) at Victoria University released a world first – a national oral health report card that reveals more than 90% of Australian adults have experienced decay in their permanent teeth.

Australia’s Oral Health Tracker reveals that:

• Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in Australia.

• Three out of four children and young people are consuming too much sugar.

• Only 51% of Australian adults brush their teeth the recommended twice a day.

• Drinking and smoking contribute to poor oral health.

Australia Map with Smile grotty person

The report highlights the vital links between oral health and general health. Too much sugar, regular drinking, and smoking not only impact oral health, but are also linked to preventable chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

The evidence showed that one third of Australia’s five to six-year-olds have had decay in their baby teeth. This level of decay indicates a high level of sugar intake at a young age. If this consumption habit continues into adult life, those children are at a higher risk of poor health as they age.

“In 2015-16, there were 67,266 potentially preventable hospitalisations for oral health problems and almost one-third of these were children under the age of nine years, mostly for untreated tooth decay…

Poor oral health in childhood is a predictor of disease in adulthood. Australia needs to that oral health care is part of good health care, and that access to dental care is a significant contributor to good oral and physical health,” adds Dr Sachs.

We see these implications every day, and this is the advice we share with our patients:

• Start gently brushing your children’s teeth with a soft toothbrush as soon as they erupt.

• Encourage children to brush their teeth twice daily as soon as they are able to.

• Brush your teeth twice daily so your kids copy your good habits.

• Juice can contain just as much sugar as soft drink. Choose water instead.

• Sports drinks have acids which wear away tooth enamel. Choose water instead.

• Have a hygiene check-up at least every 6 months to monitor for cavities.

You will find more details in that attached pdf’s which summarise the findings for adults and children.