World Cavity Free Future Day: shift in global attitude needed to prevent cavities

Top teeth tips: Happy Smiles dentist Astrid Hooper has a warning about sugary snacks and drinks for parents, suggesting that cavities are preventable with a few simple changes.
Top teeth tips: Happy Smiles dentist Astrid Hooper has a warning about sugary snacks and drinks for parents, suggesting that cavities are preventable with a few simple changes.

Saturday is World Cavity Free Future Day, and dentists are using it to remind parents of the importance of keeping healthy teeth and gums.

Despite being largely preventable, dental cavities are the world’s most prolific chronic disease, and while brushing regularly and watching what we eat are the obvious solutions, the Alliance for a Cavity Free Future are taking it to the next level, looking for a global change in attitude.

“Tooth decay can be stopped, reversed, and prevented, but creating a cavity-free future will require a widespread shift in behaviour for the public, policy makers and dental professionals,” a spokesperson said.

“The aim of the awareness campaign is to engage with communities, and send a “wake-up call” to those who have the ability to make social, economic and political changes to encourage action.”

The two best known methods to prevent cavities are brushing twice a day and drinking fluoridated water, with Tamworth Regional Council leading the way with their ongoing upgrades of the existing fluoridation system at the Manilla Water Treatment Plant.

Locally, Inland Dentist Dr. Ashita Sapra said that mis-information could be doing harm to one of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) top ten sanitation recommendations.

“Despite evidence gathered over 60 years about the safety and effectiveness of adding fluoride to drinking water, people still aren’t convinced because of persistent myths, and they are only myths,” Dr Sapra said.

Down the road at Happy Smiles, dentist Astrid Hooper wants parents to not only watch what they are eating, but more importantly how often they are eating it.

“It is not about how much sugar but the frequency of sugary snacks and food,” Dr Hooper said.

“People that graze constantly over the day will have more problems than people who just have three meals a day.

“Parents need to also realise that soft drinks and juice, especially in babies bottles are a real trap – stick to milk and water only.

“Getting cavities in baby teeth can still affect how adult teeth develop.”