Oral health forms an important part of our life, enabling us to interact and go about our livesIt is estimated that oral diseases affect close to 3.5 billion people worldwide, ranging from dental caries (tooth decay) and periodontal diseases, to oral cancers and cleft lips. Oral conditions predominantly share risk factors which can be mitigated or modified, including smoking, alcohol consumption or an unhealthy diet with high added sugars.
Dental caries or tooth decay is the most common NCD worldwide. In high-income countries, dental caries takes up to 5-10% of healthcare allocations and it is also one of the major reasons for children to be hospitalised. Severe form of dental caries can have negative impact on quality of life such as difficulty eating and sleeping. This can also subsequently cause absence from work or school. Poor oral health may also lead to a range of other diseases including oral cancers, lung conditions, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and more.
All our teeth are covered in plaque – which is a sticky and thin film formed by bacteria and other substances. Acids will form on the teeth as by-products when the plague comes into contact with sugar that we consume. The acids can attack our teeth for 20 minutes or longer after finish eating. This can slowly dissolve the hard tissue on the surface of teeth (enamel & dentine), eventually creating holes or cavities in the teeth. Having dry mouth which is caused by low levels of saliva can further exacerbate the process of decay. This may occur during night time or under extreme stress.
Minimise the amount of sugar intake to 10% of total energy intake.
Maintain good oral hygiene habit by brushing teeth twice daily using fluoride toothpaste.
Visit the dentist regularly for check ups and preventative care.