The Tatiara District is being challenged to ‘Choose Water for a Day to Fight Cavities for Life’ by Alliance for a Cavity Free Future.
The local campaign aims to help communities improve their oral health this October, in name of the third annual World Cavity-Free Future Day, an initiative to progress toward a cavity-free future world.
The initiative highlights how simple changes in behaviour, such as choosing water over other beverages, can positively impact oral health and help prevent cavities.
Tatiara’s Country Living Dentistry dentist Dr Ab Dhillon said the Bordertown and Keith clinics support the initiative of World Cavity Free Day.
“Here at Country Living Dentistry we see quite a few people with dental cavities,” he said.“We are always striving to educate the community about oral health.
“People often seem unaware of the link between good oral health and their overall health.”
Dr Dhillon said cavities are caused by bacteria in the mouth using sugar as a food source and producing acid which eats away at the tooth structure.
“The tooth is unable to repair itself so cavities can only be removed by dental treatment,” he said. “Cavities left untreated can lead to destruction of the tooth causing infection and pain and swelling.
“In general, the longer that treatment is delayed, the more expensive it becomes. In the most serious case the only way to fix the problem is to remove the tooth.”
Dr Dhillon said community members should stay vigilant for symptoms of cavities that include tooth sensitivity, pain, change in colour and an unpleasant odour.
He also said cavities can be avoided by brushing teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, reducing the amount of sugar in diet and getting regular check ups.
The campaign is also supported by many Australian dental professionals who are also challenging Australians to drink only water on the day.
According to Alliance, 2018 results from Australia’s Oral Health Tracker reveal that over 90% of Australian adults have experienced dental caries at some point in their lives. Statistics from the same report show that more than one-third of Australia’s five to six-year-old children have had decay in their baby teeth.
Sydney Dental Hospital practising dietitian Lindy Sank agreed that healthy habits should start at a young age as children often continue their early dietary habits into adulthood and adults can be good role models by drinking water.
“Drinking too many soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit juices can lead to consumption of excess calories and added sugars,” she said.
“One bottle of soft drink can contain 15 teaspoons of sugar. That’s more than twice the daily intake of free sugar that’s recommended for adults and children by the World Health Organisation for greatest health benefits. If we replace sugary drinks with water and the recommended two portions of fresh fruit daily, we’re hydrating, decreasing the chance of becoming obese or developing diabetes and helping to prevent tooth decay.”
The assembly of local and global organisations who support this initiative continues to grow as dental health professionals and groups unite to share clear advice on the most effective ways to beat cavities and improve overall oral health.