November is a key month for oral health awareness, with the first of the month marking New Zealand’s ninth national oral health day.
Organised by the New Zealand Dental Association, this is a chance for people to check in with how well they are looking after their dental and oral health.
National Clinical Director of Oral Health Riana Clarke says regular toothbrushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste (preferably with a small-headed, soft-bristled brush) is the best way to look after oral health, which can have wide-ranging effects on overall health.
‘Brushing teeth is crucial for the health of your gums and teeth. Oral diseases are closely linked with general health diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke, but tooth decay and gum disease are preventable with good tooth-brushing habits, along with eating and drinking a diet low in sugar.’
The last New Zealand Health Survey found that 68.7% of New Zealanders aged 15 or over brushed their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and 63.7% of children up to age 14.
‘Making sure to brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, especially last thing at night with no food or drink afterwards, is one of the best steps you can take to look after your oral health.’