No one, regardless of age, should have to endure cavities, bad breath, inflamed gums or tooth loss – especially when these problems are preventable or can be managed simply.
Tooth loss and gum disease have become widely accepted as a general, natural part of ageing. However, this is a myth that needs busting. If proper preventative dental care is taken, problems can largely be avoided.
Unfortunately, preventative care is sometimes overlooked.
Careful and regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste is obviously essential, but cleaning between the teeth, where approximately one-third of the tooth’s surface rest, is necessary too.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean flossing! Since some of us find flossing uncomfortable, it pays to look into alternatives – like using interdental brushes (pictured). Ask your dentist about them the next time you visit.
In the mean time, here are some facts to consider from the Australian Dental Association:
- 90 per cent of all dental disease is preventable
- There are more than 19 million decayed teeth in Australia and it is predicted there are 11 million additional decayed teeth each year
- Periodontal diseases – the inflammation of tissues surround the tooth affecting the gum, ligaments and bone – is directly caused by bacterial infection. These diseases affect more than 35 per cent of people aged up to 64 years and more than 54 per cent of those aged over 65 years.
- More than 30 per cent of Australians admit they brush only once a day and usually skip cleaning their teeth before bed. Many avoid flossing at any time.
- 83 per cent of Australians say that decayed teeth and bad breath are the biggest turnoffs on a first date. Only five per cent found body odour off putting while four per cent cited poor dress sense.
- The overall average of decayed, missing or filled teeth for those 15-64 years was almost 20 teeth, leaving 12 ‘good’ teeth while people aged 65 had on average eight good teeth.
- The National Dental Telephone Interview Survey found in 2010 that more than half of all people aged five years and over had some level of dental insurance. Adults aged 45–64 had significantly higher rates of dental insurance and people aged 65 and over had significantly lower rates of insurance than other age groups