Dental decay is a widespread health problem for Australians. Gum disease is also an issue for many people and is a major cause of discomfort, tooth loss and poor health. Decay and gum disease can affect the ability to eat, speak and socialise.
Your mouth, teeth and gums are exposed to bacteria and acid every time you eat or drink. The bacteria forms plaque and if not removed, hardens to become tartar.
It’s the plaque and tartar that attack teeth and cause decay. Untreated decay leads to fillings or extractions. Plaque and tartar can also cause gum disease (periodontitis).
Researchers have found that gum disease is linked to other serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, pneumonia and diabetes.
Given the potential link, good dental care is an important step in maintaining overall health.
Brushing your teeth thoroughly, twice a day, helps to remove plaque. The Australian Dental Association recommends daily flossing to help remove the plaque that a toothbrush can’t get to.
A professional clean at the dentist is the only way to remove the tartar that floss or a brush can’t reach. That’s why they recommend that people of all ages have a regular dental check-up, scale and clean.
Did you know the following can be early signs of gum disease? Tell your dentist if you experience:
- bleeding, red or swollen gums when you brush or floss
- persistent bad breath
- loose teeth
- a change in your bite or the fit of partial dentures.
Apart from the links to overall health, your teeth need to last a lifetime. So it’s worth taking good care of them. Avoid sugary and acidic food and drink between meals; brush with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day; and have a regular dental check and professional clean.
If you have extras cover with Defence Health, you can access our dental network and save a guaranteed minimum of 15% off the usual dental fee for all treatments performed by any network dentist throughout Australia. And if you have our Premier, Value or Top Extras or the ADF Total Package you also receive no-gap cover on preventive dental treatments like your annual scale & clean at any participating Smile dentist (within limits). So there’s never been a better time to head to the dentist for a check-up.