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News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin September 2010
20 SEPTEMBER 2010 Only a generation ago, most people expected to go through old age with false teeth, or no teeth at all. This expectation has changed considerably during recent decades. Reasons for this include improved nutrition, better access to dental care, fluoridated water and toothpaste, and improved treatment for tooth decay and periodontal disease. Most Australian adults have better oral health today than those who came before them, and most can expect to keep the majority of their teeth for life. However, there is still a risk of tooth loss. Dental Health Week 2010 focused on erosion -- the gradual wearing away or dissolving of the outer enamel layer of your teeth. See www.dentalhealthweek.com.au for further information. This edition of the National Dental Update will highlight some common ways teeth can be lost and how to best avoid tooth loss. TOOTH DECAY AND PERIODONTAL DISEASE Dental caries (tooth decay) and periodontal disease (gum disease) are two of the five most prevalent health conditions in Australia. About 90% of all tooth loss can be attributed to these two oral health conditions.1 Both are preventable. The best way to avoid these conditions is to maintain a healthy diet, brush regularly, and to visit the dentist for periodic check-ups and cleaning so decay and periodontal disease can be detected early and treated. ABRASION Toothbrush abrasion occurs from brushing too hard or improperly. Tooth sensitivity typically occurs with abrasion. To prevent abrasion, learn to brush and floss properly. Always use a brush with soft bristles. Your dentist will show you which technique and equipment would work best for you. ATTRITION AND BRUXISM Attrition is the loss of tooth structure by mechanical forces from opposing teeth. Bruxism involves the grinding of the teeth and is typically accompanied by the clenching of the jaws. It commonly occurs whilst asleep, but can also occur during the day. Bruxism can result in abnormal wear patterns of tooth surfaces, fractures in the teeth, and tooth loss. The effects of bruxism may be quite advanced before sufferers are aware they brux. Again, a check-up with your dentist will alert you as to whether you need assistance. Mouthguards or nightguards can be made to prevent further tooth wear and loss. DENTAL TRAUMA Dental trauma involves injury to the mouth, including teeth, lips, gums, tongue, and jawbones. The most common dental trauma is a broken or lost tooth. Adoption of customary safety precautions (such as seatbelts when in a car, etc.) will help avoid most dental trauma. Dental trauma can be prevented by wearing a mouthguard or helmet with a full face mask when playing sports that involve speed, an increased chance of falling, and potential contact with a hard piece of equipment or other athlete. Custom fitted mouthguards provide the best protection and comfort. ORAL CANCER Oral cancer is any cancerous tissue growth located within the oral cavity. Oral cancer is associated with known risk factors including tobacco use, alcohol consumption, sun exposure (lips), and a history of head and neck cancer within the family. Avoiding known risk factors will help prevent oral cancer. Early detection of potential cancers by regular dental examination can greatly reduce their impact. EFFECTS OF TOOTH LOSS Tooth loss can cause immediate problems with eating, speech, and other basic functions. Because each tooth is supported by those around it, missing teeth can weaken the overall structure of the mouth and cause teeth to shift, causing additional tooth loss or injury that may worsen with time. Ongoing regular review of your teeth by your dentist will identify the potential for problems and remedial action can be taken to avoid deterioration or loss of further teeth. Source: National Dental Update, August 2010. The ADA National Dental Update is a monthly publication distributed to politicians and opinion leaders. Other issues can be viewed at www.ada.org.au national dental update Tooth loss AND HOW TO AVOID IT
ADA News Bulletin August 2010
ADA News Bulletin October 2010