Are you one of the many Australians who only visit the dentist when they have a dental problem? If so, you may be missing out on an essential component of maintaining good oral health.
Regular dental check-ups are crucial for preventing dental problems, identifying potential issues before they become more serious, and keeping your smile healthy and happy. Whether you’re a seasoned dental patient or someone who hasn’t visited the dentist in a while, this blog will provide you with valuable insights into the benefits of preventative dental care.
The state of oral health in Australia
The state of oral health in Australia is a significant public health concern. According to the latest data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, dental decay is one of the most common chronic conditions experienced by Australians, affecting over 9 million people.
Making things worse, many people aren’t even getting treatment. More than a third of Australians who have dental decay are not getting treatment. Left unchecked, this decay can lead to even more severe dental problems.
Another issue of concern is the strong connection between poor gum health and other chronic diseases. Gum disease, which affects approximately 22% of Australian adults, can cause inflammation, bleeding, and even tooth loss if left untreated. Even more startling, it has also been linked to broader health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Despite these alarming facts, many Australians are still failing to get the preventative dental care they need. The 2017-2018 National Dental Telephone Interview Survey found that around one in five Australian adults had not visited the dentist in the past year. This lack of preventative care leads to more severe dental problems down the line, as well as increased healthcare costs.
The benefits of regular dental check-ups
Regular dental check-ups are vital to maintaining good oral health and preventing dental problems. During a check-up, your dentist can examine your teeth, gums, and mouth for any potential issues and address them before they become more serious. They also clean your teeth to remove built-up plaque or tartar that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Regular check-ups can help identify and address potential issues before they progress and require more extensive procedures. Additionally, good oral health has been linked to better overall health outcomes, such as a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes.
What to expect during a dental check-up
During a dental check-up, patients can expect the following:
- Cleaning: Your dentist will clean your teeth using a scaler to remove any plaque or tartar buildup. Afterwards, they will use a polisher to make your teeth shiny and smooth. The polisher uses a rotating brush head and special toothpaste to remove any remaining stains or plaque.
- Examination: Your teeth, gums, and mouth will be thoroughly examined by your dentist for any potential issues, such as cavities, gum disease, or oral cancer.
- X-rays: X-rays may be taken to check for any issues that may not be visible during a visual exam, such as tooth decay between teeth.
Patients often feel anxious or uncertain about dental check-ups. However, it’s essential to remember that dental check-ups are designed to be comfortable, pain-free and even enlightening. Your dentist will take steps to ensure that you are comfortable and informed throughout the procedure. If you experience anxiety, let your dentist know beforehand so they can provide you with extra support or options for sedation if necessary.
Tips for maintaining good oral health at home
While regular dental check-ups are essential, there are things you can do at home to maintain good oral health between visits. Here are some tips to help keep your teeth and gums healthy:
- Brush twice a day: Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. Use a soft-bristled brush and brush in a circular motion.
- Floss daily: Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and under the gum line. Be sure to use the proper technique and a fresh section of floss for each tooth.
- Limit sugary foods and drinks: Sugary foods and drinks can lead to tooth decay, so try to limit your intake. Opt for water or sugar-free drinks instead.
- Eat a balanced diet: A healthy diet is essential for good oral health. Be sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking can cause gum disease and oral cancer, among other health problems. If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your oral and overall health.
Make regular dental check-ups a priority
If it’s been a while since your last dental check-up, now is the time to take action. Schedule your next appointment to maintain your oral health, identify potential issues early on and enjoy a beautiful, healthy smile for years to come.
To find a dental practitioner in your area, you can check with your health insurance provider, ask for recommendations from friends and family, or search online via the Australian Dental Association website.