19 March 2021

World Oral Health Day

On World Oral Health Day the ADAVB is joining oral health professionals around the world to encourage everyone to 'be proud of your mouth'. It is also time to prioritise oral health in aged care.

Be proud of your mouth

Maintaining a healthy mouth is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. A healthy mouth allows you to smile, speak, taste and chew without pain, difficulty or embarrassment. It also supports general health and wellbeing.

On this year’s World Oral Health Day, take some time to think about your oral hygiene routine and follow these steps to keep your mouth healthy:

  1. Brush twice a day for two minutes each time with fluoride toothpaste. Remember to replace your toothbrush every few months.
  2. Clean between your teeth once a day using floss for small gaps or interdental brushes for big gaps.
  3. Avoid food and drinks high in added sugar which can cause tooth decay. Unprocessed food is best where possible. When consuming processed food and drinks, ideally they shouldn’t contain more than 15g of sugar per 100g. Also look out for sugar or sugary ingredients that are listed in the first few items of an ingredient list – this means that it makes up a larger amount of the product than ingredients further down the list.  
  4. Visit your dentist every six to 12 months for a check-up and clean and to check for any other oral conditions. This is especially important for those who drink alcohol regularly and smoke as this increases the risk of developing oral cancer.

It’s time to prioritise oral health in aged care

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has highlighted many examples of neglect in the aged care sector. Lack of oral hygiene prioritisation, access to nutritious food and access to dental care are major contributors to oral health problems for the 220,000 Australians living in residential aged care and many others in in-home care arrangements.

A Seniors Dental Benefits Scheme proposed by the Australian Dental Association has been supported by the Aged Care Royal Commissioners. This will improve access to public and private dental services or home/residential visits where it isn’t possible to travel, and cover some of the costs for dental care that would otherwise be out-of-pocket. The scheme would be available to those receiving an aged pension or with a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

It’s time to act to improve the oral and general health and wellbeing of the elderly and support them to live their lives free of pain and discomfort caused by preventable oral health issues.

Further information

ADAVB media release: adavb.org/news-media/media-releases/world-oral-health-day--time-to-prioritise-oral-health-and-stop-the-neglect-in-aged-care

Taking care of your oral health: adavb.org/oral-health/your-oral-health

World Oral Health Day: https://www.worldoralhealthday.org/