For some reason, in this age of holistic health, we tend to ignore the fact that our teeth are part of the rest of our body.
Most dentists have little to do with the rest of the healthcare system and dental care can be expensive and hard to access if you’re not privately insured.
The health of our teeth and gums, however, is tightly linked to our health in general. As we age, we develop more and more dental decay.
Three out of four Australian toddlers have no decay but by the time we’re over 65, the vast majority of people have fillings and many have lost teeth.
Gum disease is associated with increased inflammation in the body, which can damage the heart. Unsightly teeth are a turn off and reduce people’s employment chances.
Poor oral health means poorer nutrition and that can mean shorter lives. So here are a few tips for oral health:
- When you’re pregnant make sure your teeth are in good shape and you brush regularly with a fluoridated toothpaste – it makes a difference.
- Avoid sugar – it fuels the decay causing germs in your mouth.
- Floss and make sure no food debris is left in your mouth after meals and overnight.
- Don’t clean a baby’s dummy by sucking on it as you’ll transmit your decay germs to the baby.
- No sugar or fruit drinks for babies.
- Never leave a baby to suck on a bottle no matter what’s in it.
- Start tooth brushing as soon as there’s teeth with just a tiny smear of toothpaste.
- No smoking (deadly for gums and oral health).
- If there is decay in childhood talk to a dentist about fissure sealing and fluoride applications to prevent further damage and in adulthood.
Keep up these basics of dental hygiene and visit your dentist regularly.