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Maintaining good oral health

Oral health is the condition of our teeth and gums, as well as the health of the muscles and bones in our mouths.

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Maintaining good oral health

As you age, your oral health needs can change. This can be due to other health conditions you may have or the side effects of certain medications.

Dental and general health are closely related, so it’s important for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

A healthy mouth also means you can eat, speak, and smile without pain or embarrassment.

An unhealthy mouth can be costly and lower the quality of your life.

As you age, your oral health needs can change. This can be due to other health conditions you may have or the side effects of certain medications.

Dental and general health are closely related, so it’s important for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

A healthy mouth also means you can eat, speak, and smile without pain or embarrassment.

An unhealthy mouth can be costly and lower the quality of your life.

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Four steps for oral health

  1. Clean your teeth twice a day using a toothbrush and toothpaste containing fluoride.

  2. Clean between your teeth every day using floss or an alternative. A dentist can provide advice on what will work best for your teeth.

  3. Eat a healthy balanced diet. Avoid snacking and cut back on sugar. Sugar is the main cause of tooth decay.

  4. Visit a dentist for regular check-ups and support. The ADA’s Find a Dentist website can help you to find a dentist for your needs, including Public Health and community dentists.
  1. Clean your teeth twice a day using a toothbrush and toothpaste containing fluoride.

  2. Clean between your teeth every day using floss or an alternative. A dentist can provide advice on what will work best for your teeth.

  3. Eat a healthy balanced diet. Avoid snacking and cut back on sugar. Sugar is the main cause of tooth decay.

  4. Visit a dentist for regular check-ups and support. The ADA’s Find a Dentist website can help you to find a dentist for your needs, including Public Health and community dentists.
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Healthy mouth, healthy body

Seeing a dentist means oral health issues can be found early. For example, tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancers may not cause pain until they’re well advanced.

A healthy mouth can help you maintain a healthy body.

Researchers are now finding connections with oral health and Type 2 Diabetes, heart diseases, gut issues, lung conditions, and Alzheimer’s disease (Diagnostics 2021).

Seeing a dentist means oral health issues can be found early. For example, tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancers may not cause pain until they’re well advanced.

A healthy mouth can help you maintain a healthy body.

Researchers are now finding connections with oral health and Type 2 Diabetes, heart diseases, gut issues, lung conditions, and Alzheimer’s disease (Diagnostics 2021).

Read less...

How often should you see a dentist?

The answer to how often you should visit a dentist depends on your individual needs and risk factors.

Some people may only need to visit the dentist once or twice a year, while others may need to go more often.

A dentist can create an individual treatment plan for you and advise how often to have a check-up. This will be based on your oral health history and if you are at risk of having dental problems. For example, if you have diabetes, heart disease, or other chronic conditions that can affect your oral health.

The answer to how often you should visit a dentist depends on your individual needs and risk factors.

Some people may only need to visit the dentist once or twice a year, while others may need to go more often.

A dentist can create an individual treatment plan for you and advise how often to have a check-up. This will be based on your oral health history and if you are at risk of having dental problems. For example, if you have diabetes, heart disease, or other chronic conditions that can affect your oral health.

Read less...

You should see a dentist for tooth damage, gum diseases, dry mouth, dentures and denture-related problems. However, there are other health conditions a dentist can help you to manage. For example:

  • Diabetes and dementia. Learn more about type 2 diabetes and brain health.
  • Sleep apnoea or snoring can be improved with an oral device that can help you breathe better at night. A dentist can help you to fit the device properly.
  • Chronic headaches may be caused by a condition like temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) which affects the jaw muscles and nerves. A dentist can fit appliances like splints for pain relief.

You should see a dentist for tooth damage, gum diseases, dry mouth, dentures and denture-related problems. However, there are other health conditions a dentist can help you to manage. For example:

  • Diabetes and dementia. Learn more about type 2 diabetes and brain health.
  • Sleep apnoea or snoring can be improved with an oral device that can help you breathe better at night. A dentist can help you to fit the device properly.
  • Chronic headaches may be caused by a condition like temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) which affects the jaw muscles and nerves. A dentist can fit appliances like splints for pain relief.
Read less...

How to reduce dental care costs

Healthdirect explains the cost of dental care in Australia, including how to use Medicare and private health insurance. They recommend you:

  • Find out if you really need the procedure by determining if the benefits outweigh the risks.
  • Ask for a quote to find out how much the procedure costs.
  • Cost item numbers so that you can call a few dentists to compare prices.
  • Ask if there are less expensive alternatives. For example, can they use a less expensive type of filling?

Healthdirect explains the cost of dental care in Australia, including how to use Medicare and private health insurance. They recommend you:

  • Find out if you really need the procedure by determining if the benefits outweigh the risks.
  • Ask for a quote to find out how much the procedure costs.
  • Cost item numbers so that you can call a few dentists to compare prices.
  • Ask if there are less expensive alternatives. For example, can they use a less expensive type of filling?
Read less...

Lower-cost services

The availability and cost of dental services depends on the state or territory you live in:

The availability and cost of dental services depends on the state or territory you live in:

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DVA Health Cards

If you have a Department of Veterans’ Affairs DVA white or gold card, you are eligible for dental treatments. Check with your dental provider if they will accept DVA veterans’ health cards.

The Aged Care Dental Program

The Australian Dental Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that supports people in aged care facilities and residential living complexes. It offers a mobile dental service that can provide a range of dental treatments at a minimal cost for residents.

If you have a Department of Veterans’ Affairs DVA white or gold card, you are eligible for dental treatments. Check with your dental provider if they will accept DVA veterans’ health cards.

The Aged Care Dental Program

The Australian Dental Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that supports people in aged care facilities and residential living complexes. It offers a mobile dental service that can provide a range of dental treatments at a minimal cost for residents.

Read less...

Dental tourism

Dental tourism may seem like a clever way to save money, but you first need to find out as much as you can to reduce the risks. Things to consider include:

  • There may be an increased risk of infections, particularly in tropical environments.
  • Not all countries have the same requirements for quality dental materials like those approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia.
  • The risk of post-operative deep vein thrombosis on the long-haul flight home.
  • The extra cost if you need to go back for more dental work.

Dental tourism may seem like a clever way to save money, but you first need to find out as much as you can to reduce the risks. Things to consider include:

  • There may be an increased risk of infections, particularly in tropical environments.
  • Not all countries have the same requirements for quality dental materials like those approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia.
  • The risk of post-operative deep vein thrombosis on the long-haul flight home.
  • The extra cost if you need to go back for more dental work.
Read less...

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More helpful information

If you’d like to learn more about maintaining good oral health, follow the links below:

If you’d like to learn more about maintaining good oral health, follow the links below:

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Maintaining good oral health

Reference

Lee, Y.-H., Chung, S.W., Auh, Q.-S., et al. Progress in Oral Microbiome Related to Oral and Systemic Diseases: An Update, Diagnostics (July 2021). https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11071283

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