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New research identifies alarming trends in oral health

New research, commissioned by the Oral Health Advisory Panel (OHAP), has revealed some worrying insights into Australians’ oral health habits, many valuing appearance over the health of their teeth.

A staggering 92% of Australian adults are unaware of what the early stages of tooth decay look like, just one of the alarming results revealed in the OHAP Oral Health Care Study 2019, an annual survey that looks at the oral health of Australians. Another area of great concern was that around one third of Australian adults place the visual appearance of their teeth and having fresh breath above having healthy gums and cavity-free teeth.

“We know that prevention is the key when it comes to oral health,” says Christine Morris, a public health advocate and founding member of the Oral Health Advisory Panel, “and that needs to start very early. Having an effective oral hygiene routine in place, and modelling that behaviour to your children, can protect you and your family from a host of other potential health conditions down the track, such as heart disease or diabetes.”

Ms Morris believes that further community education is crucial, with oral health professionals playing a key role.

“Seeing a little white patch on your tooth can be an indication of early decay, and yet only 8% of those surveyed knew what to look out for. Oral health professionals are encouraged to educate their patients on these signs and symptoms so that people can identify issues early on. The earlier a problem is identified, the more chance we have of fixing it,” said Ms Morris.

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