Friday, December 21, 2018

What You Need to Know about Dental Health in the UK

The UK population may behave differently to America when it comes to Dental Health. For those looking to get clued up on the latest facts, figures, and statistics, this article comprises everything you need to know about dental health in the UK, and the habits citizens have when it comes to their teeth. The UK’s NHS system should, in theory, enable the UK to have better access to dental care. Knowing how you measure up to the rest of the world is a great way to compare how well you look after your teeth and understand the importance and effects of oral care. Therefore, these top facts about dental health in the UK have been collected to encourage you to maintain a good oral hygiene routine.

1. 1 in 3 UK adults have tooth decay

Firstly, the fact that over a third of adults have tooth decay is a revealing statistic as it shows how well the UK population are looking after their teeth as they age. The fact that over 1 in 3 adults have tooth decay shows that people are not caring for their teeth correctly.  Tooth decay is caused by plaque causing cavities in the teeth; plaque can be formed due to brushing your teeth incorrectly or eating sugary foods. It can also cause nasty symptoms such as pain, inflammation and even bad breath. There may be many reasons that people are not looking after their teeth as well as possible such as a lack of education about dental health, misinformation or time constraints make it difficult to establish a routine.

To avoid tooth decay, you should brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day, reducing the amount of plaque-causing bacteria which can remain on your teeth after eating. You should also floss at least once a day to stop plaque forming in the narrow gaps between your teeth. Toothbrushes can only reach about 65% of your teeth’s surfaces. Therefore, it is vital that you floss to reduce the chances of tooth decay and cavities. If you are particularly prone to plaque and decay, which can be genetic, then investing in a dentist recommended mouthwash may be able to protect your teeth throughout the day whilst also freshening your breath. However, you must ensure that you do not use mouthwash for at least half an hour after you brush your teeth. This can wash off the fluoride from your teeth and leave them exposed to bacteria.

2. 27% of the population only book dental check-ups when necessary

A poll researching why people avoided the dentist found that 42% of people that didn’t go to the dentist were scared of pain. However, most procedures are undertaken with local anesthetic and so are completely pain-free. Visiting the dentist with your child early in their life can help them to be less scared of the dentist as they become an adult. An additional 21% avoid the dentist because they worry that they will need further treatment. However, many conditions can be prevented if they are found by your dentist early, lessening the probability of major treatment.

Many people believe that you should only visit the dentist if you are in pain or see a change in your teeth such as staining. However, a lot of diseases and even cavities can be undetectable in their early stages. Regardless of whether you are in pain, you should visit the dentist at least once a year, and even twice a year on their suggestion. Routine dental check-ups can help prevent major diseases as professionals can find problems that you may not notice. Dental practices have the right equipment to check early warning symptoms. They can also advise you on your personal oral care routine, such as the best way to floss.

It is necessary for your practice to invest in reliable dental supplies from knowledgeable companies. From filling materials to ultrasonic baths, the relationship between the practice and supplier is important to fulfill their patient’s needs and enable dental professionals to perform their work to the best of their ability. To do this, dental suppliers like Kent Express provide a friendly and collaborative service that is able to provide practices with the best equipment for their needs, staying in communication with these for the duration of their relationship. For instance, their Ulticlean Ultrasonic Bath is state of the art and has a 4-litre capacity, showing how dental suppliers like these can help to provide you with both the best of technology and dental care.

3. People who consume fizzy drinks have 62% more tooth decay

On average, people that consume 3 plus glasses of fizzy drinks per day have 62% more tooth decay, including fillings and tooth loss. This is because the sugar in fizzy drinks is one of the largest reasons for tooth decay- with each sip you take, the sugar can affect your teeth for 20 minutes afterward. Therefore, drinking a lot of fizzy drinks means that your teeth are being constantly attacked. This can lead to a build-up of plaque which can eventually cause cavities that need professional work. However, fizzy drinks are particularly bad for you as they are also highly acidic. This acidity erodes the enamel of your teeth and exposes the softer and more sensitive dentin underneath. Unfortunately, enamel does not grow back, and so the effects of fizzy drinks are for life.

To avoid the problems of fizzy drinks, you should cut your consumption as much as possible. When you do drink fizzy drinks, you should drink them through a straw as this stops the liquid from being in contact with your teeth for such a long period of time. Additionally, you should also wash your mouth out with water after the drink as this neutralizes the acidity of the drink. This lessens the chance of weakening your enamel.

4. Only half of the UK are happy with their teeth

Next to the poor statistics about appointment attendance, only half of the UK are happy with their teeth. This has led to a surge in cosmetic procedures to improve the appearance of people’s teeth. From the 1980s and the start of advertisements focused on pearly whites, there has been more interest in how our teeth look rather than how healthy they are. Our lifestyles could also be a cause for our teeth looking less than perfect. Substances such as coffee, wine, and even orange juice can cause staining to our teeth. While this does not damage them, it can give teeth a yellow or brown appearance. This has led to an increase in cosmetic braces and whitening procedures. In fact, the teeth whitening is becoming increasingly popular. In the US, although their market is set to grow, as is the UK oral health market. The oral health market is a good indicator of how happy we are with our teeth as it includes products such as whitening toothpaste and whitening strips. This shows that there is an increase in dental practices in both the USA and the UK.

5. People with no natural teeth have decreased

However, there are facts which bring good news too. Although many adults have teeth removed, the percentage of people with no natural teeth has decreased. While 28% of people had no natural teeth in 1978, in 2009 only 6% of respondents were edentate. These averages show a change in our dental care in general, showing that fewer people have major tooth problems such as tooth decay. This could be through a variety of reasons such as more accessible education about dental care enabling more people to have a good oral care routine. Although we now consume higher amounts of sugar and fizzy drinks, the Faculty of Dental Health found that ‘the oral health of the population, both children’s dental decay experience and the decline [in] adult tooth loss, has improved steadily and substantially.’

6. There are 35,000 dental practitioners in the UK

There are currently around 35,000 dental practitioners working in the UK, compared to 14,000 in 1970. This growth in numbers is in direct correlation with an increase in good dental health care and more regular visits to the dentist. In the 1970s, only 44% of people with at least one natural tooth visited the dentist, compared to 61% in the 2010s. An increase in dentists is therefore incredibly positive as it ensures that more people can have access to dental health services.

7. Only 56% of children visit the dentist before their 3rd birthday

Children’s dental health is, in some ways, much more complex. Although Americans are known for visiting the dentist earlier, the statistics are not much different, with 34% not visiting the dentist in their first two years. Visiting the dentist early, before the age of 3, is important to help children get used to dental practices. By doing so, children will be less worried about the dentist as they get older. If they are worried about going to the dentist, there are many methods that you can try to soothe their fears such as making it seem like a game. Getting advice from practitioners is also vital as early as possible as this will help you to look after your child’s teeth to the best of your knowledge as they get older. Going to the dentist will enable you to get tailored advice to your child’s individual needs. It will also help you to learn the expectations as your child gets older so that you can notice immediately if there is a change or if something is wrong.

Although many adults believe that your child’s milk teeth are not important, this is completely untrue. In fact, the health of their milk teeth can have a great impact on the teeth growing under them. Due to this, it is vital that you take your child to visit the dentist at an early age to help prevent lasting problems in the future.

8. The number of children with plaque has decreased

However, the number of children with plaque has decreased by 10% in 10 years. The reasons for this could include better education about oral care routines, a decrease in sugar in snacks for children and visiting the dentist regularly. This could also be in correlation with the cosmetic dentistry trends, such as orthodontic treatments such as having braces, as this shows an increase in people focusing on their teeth and their care.

However, even though the number of children with plaque has decreased significantly, there were 45,000 hospital visits for children aged 0-19 in 2016/17. This was the largest reason for admission between the ages of 5 and 9. Therefore, children’s dental education still has many improvements to be made, with over half of 8-year-olds having tooth decay. Although there are healthy drinks and snacks available, food advertising sometimes label unhealthy drinks as healthy, such as Ribena and other fruit juices that are high in sugar. This can lead to parents and children making the wrong choices for their dental hygiene. However, one-third of children are worried about smiling due to the condition of their teeth. This proves that children’s oral health should be handled more seriously from a younger age.

Although it may sound as if dental health in the UK is not positive, when compared with results from the 1970s and before, there is a definite correlation between improved dental care and modernity. Through the better resources and education that we have in the 21st century, the UK’s dental health has improved rapidly. However, as seen from the statistics, there are still many ways that our oral care needs to improve, whether you live in the UK or USA. From using mouthwash to visiting the dentist regularly, by making one change to your oral health, you will be able to help improve the statistics and continue the growth in dental care awareness. This will be for the benefit of your dental health and overall health, too, so is certainly a good investment of your time.

This is a guest blog entry.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments are welcome.