02 August 2021

2021 Dental Health Week: Keep your smile for life

It’s Dental Health Week (DHW)! From 2–8 August, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) DHW campaign is focusing on the importance of preventive oral health care to aid Australians of all ages to care for their teeth and gums to keep their smile for life.

DHW is an annual event run by the Australian Dental Association that aims to educate Australians on the key daily steps they should be taking to keep their teeth and gums healthy. It’s the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of oral health and encourage your patients to take simple steps to care for their teeth and gums to help them keep their teeth, and smile, for life. 

Key messages of DHW

The key messages of the 2021 DHW campaign aim to reinforce the importance of maintaining good oral health:

  1. Brush teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste: One in five Australian adults do not brush the recommended twice per day.
  2. Clean in-between teeth (with floss or interdental brushes) once a day: Brushing without cleaning in between teeth may be leaving behind a lot of plaque and bacteria. Only 25 per cent of Australian adults are cleaning between their teeth the recommended once per day.
  3. Eat a healthy balanced diet and limit sugar intake: Regularly eating sugary foods and drinks can increase the risk of developing tooth decay. Encourage your patients to take steps to protect their teeth, such as choosing water over sugary beverages, reading the ingredients list on foods and drinks to look out for sugars, and avoiding snacking between meals. The average adult should limit their daily added sugar intake to six teaspoons (24 grams). 
  4. Regularly visit the dentist for check-ups and preventive treatment: We’re reminding the public that it’s important to have a regular dentist who they should visit at least once per year. Ensure your practice details are up to date on Find a Dentist so patients can find you. Go to ada.org.au/My-ADA My Listings, log in using your federal number, and make sure the Find a Dentist box is ticked. 

How do we know the average Aussie isn’t giving their dental health the required amount of attention? Australia’s Oral Health Tracker is a national report card on the health of our mouths and how this impacts how healthy we are overall. You can find out more about Australia’s oral health and how healthy we’d like it to be at ada.org.au/oralhealthtracker.

Get involved this DHW

No doubt you frequently have conversations over the course of a normal working week with patients on oral hygiene and nutrition. DHW gives fresh opportunities to begin or keep conversations going with patients, and to spread the messages more widely.

To help you spread the message, the ADA has created a resource kit, which is available for download at dentalhealthweek.com.au. The kit contains posters, bunting for decoration, email signatures and e-newsletter banners, social media content, and much more.

You can go the extra mile and hold an event, either in-person or online, to raise awareness and promote good oral health.

Tea for Teeth, an initiative of eviDent Foundation, is a great way to do this. Simply host a morning or afternoon tea at any time this month to raise money to help eviDent continue its valuable research to improve the oral health of Australians. You can even make your tea a virtual get-together. After you register, eviDent will provide you with promotional materials to help you make your tea a special event. Learn more and register your Tea for Teeth at evident.org.au.