Dental Decay ‘Most Common’ Human Disease


If you ever needed a bit of motivation to book an appointment with a Guildford dentist, brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once daily, it might well be hearing Dr Christine Myers’ assertion that dental decay is in fact the most common human disease of them all.

Dr Myers is the incoming president of the HSE Dental Group and reminded parents that oral care really does need to begin by a child’s first birthday, with regular check-ups until they reach 16. But in Ireland, oral health is still not being viewed as an integral part of general health, she explained.

Speaking at the Irish Dental Association’s annual seminar, Dr Myers said: “By right primary school children should be screened by a Public Health Dentist three times but the reality is that school screenings are observed more in the breach than the observance. This is having a devastating effect on thousands of children around the country.

“The Public Dental Service should be based on risk assessment of patients and the service offered reflective of each person's needs. As risk can change the service needs to be reactive and dynamic to allow for this.”

Similarly, dentist David Murnaghan – writing for the Belfast Telegraph – stressed the importance of looking after your own teeth, given that gum disease is the most common but one of the least acknowledged health problems out there. Apparently, eight out of ten people over the age of 35 have gum disease, which can be characterised by loose teeth, painful chewing and gums that pull away. He also noted that gum disease can potentially shorten your odds of heart disease and stroke. Bacteria is able to enter the bloodstream through the gums and join fatty plaques in blood vessels. Inflamed vessels can restrict blood flow to the heart and increase your blood pressure.

Mr Murnaghan also stressed the importance of looking after your children’s teeth and advised that you speak to your local dentist if you’re not sure how to go about this. Did you know, for example, that you can have fissure sealants provided on your child’s back teeth in order to help prevent decay?

How to look after your teeth properly

Getting into a routine with your teeth-cleaning is the best way to ensure good dental health. Brush twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste and ensure that you use an interdental brush or some dental floss each day in order to remove any food or plaque lodged between your teeth.

But it’s also lifestyle that you need to consider when it comes to the health of your mouth. If you smoke, eat badly and drink a lot of alcohol and sugary drinks, your teeth will certainly tell you about it.

With babies, start to brush their teeth as soon as they first appear and avoid sweetened food and drink. Establish a good routine with your children for brushing and make sure that the whole family goes for regular check-ups each year.