“Brushing your teeth twice a day could help you keep your healthy smile for life,” Chief Dental Officer Dr Robyn Haisman-Welsh advised on World Oral Health Day.
“Keeping teeth and gums healthy can be easy but it starts with you. A simple routine of brushing with regular strength fluoride toothpaste twice a day, having sugary foods and drinks less often, drinking fluoridated water and having regular dental check-ups can help prevent most oral health problems.”
The 2009 New Zealand Oral Health Survey found that only 65 per cent of New Zealand adults and 15 per cent of preschoolers brush their teeth twice a day with regular strength fluoride toothpaste.
Survey results also showed that decay and gum disease were widespread. One in three New Zealand adults had untreated tooth decay and gum disease, whilst one in five preschoolers had tooth decay by the time they turned four.
“A diet high in sugar increases the risk of having tooth decay; it is also a risk factor for diabetes and obesity. So have sugary foods and drinks less often,” Dr Haisman-Welsh recommended.
New Zealanders’ consumption of fizzy drinks doubled between 2000 and 2006, and they now consume more sugar per person per year than the Australians, British and Americans.
Survey results also showed that children and adults living in fluoridated areas have much less tooth decay over their lifetimes than those in un-fluoridated areas.
“Drink fluoridated water. If you don’t have fluoridated water in your area, lobby your local Council to have fluoride added to your water supply.”
Dr Robyn Haisman-Welsh also encouraged regular dental check-ups to spot and treat problems early.
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