Oral Health Overview Essay: Preventing Tooth Decay in Australia
Australia is prone to one of the leading health problems in the nation: tooth decay. In fact, it’s five times as problematic in children as asthma, according to Sailors Bay Dentistry. As a result, Australian hospitals are seeing a rush of hospitalizations of the youth, especially students, when it comes to tooth problems.
In this study, the researchers from our essay writing service have gathered information about oral health in Australia.
One such initiative with hopes of reversing this dangerous trend was SugarFreeSmiles. The goal of this initiative is to raise awareness of tooth decay, along with advocating for regulatory public health policies.
As one can tell, change won’t happen overnight, nor will it happen over a small period of time. Improving oral health of all Australians starts with habitual changes like reducing sugar consumption.
This overview hopes to magnify the oral health issue in Australia. And then, it’ll explain what’s happening in both the government and the community, in order to combat the negative effects of tooth decay.
The Issue Of Oral Health
In March 2018, ABC News (Australia) reported on Australians’ habits when it came to oral health. What they had found was both shocking and concerning:
- 90% of Australian adults have problems with tooth decay.
- Almost three-quarters of children in Australia eat too much sugar.
- Australian hospitals have seen a high rate of admissions concerning children ages five to nine.
The ABC News article goes on to say that this health issue is worsened with the fact that many Australians don’t have access to adequate dentistry, while millions (if not billions) of dollars are spent on “unnecessary dentistry.”
So, where do college/university students and youth fall into these statistics? Whether you write academic papers yourself or buy essay online, you still need to have time and funds to take care of your dental health. Your academic success starts from being a healthy student.
While it seems that sugar is one of the culprits to tooth decay, there is still some more truths to that speculation than one might realize. To understand how tooth decay is preventable, it’s important to learn the causes of this oral health issue.
The Causes Of Tooth Decay
On the surface, tooth decay can be unappealing. However, the most damage of the tooth happens from the inside.
According to the Mayo Clinic, tooth decay (or cavities) are caused by a cocktail of bacteria, food debris, sugary-drink consumption (especially the “hidden sugars” in food), and poor oral hygiene. When all of those factors combine with saliva, a sticky substance (plaque) will form. Plaque tends to sit or hide in the following areas in your mouth:
- On the chewing surfaces of back molars
- At the edges of fillings, AND
- Just above the gum line (on all teeth)
While brushing your teeth can help keep the plaque at bay, that method won’t get rid of all of it. Missed plaque will mineralizes into calculus (or tartar), which will dissolve the enamel on your teeth and create holes. Plaque and tartar will also eventually cause irritation of the gums, gingivitis, and other problems. In fact, Mayo Clinic points out additional symptoms of tooth decay:
- Sensitive teeth
- Toothaches (either spontaneous or out of the blue)
- Mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking sweet, hot, or cold foods or beverages
- Visible holes or pits in the teeth
- “Stains” on the tooth (brown, black or white), AND OR
- Pain when biting down
When left untreated, the nerve and blood vessels in teeth can die, and then result in a tooth abscess (which will mean hospitalization). Here is an example that will be more understandable by students going through their academia: it's better to hire professional writers when you look for do my assignment instead of failing your course because you lack knowledge, time or anything else.
Also, think about the hidden sugars in foods, as the following list suggests:
- Sucrose, AND
- Cooked starches
These hidden sugars in your food add to the health issue by aggravating tooth decay symptoms.
The Australian Government’s Response
The Australian Government works with state and territory governments to fund dental services and improve dental health. They have agreed to a National Oral Health Plan (2015-2024) that sets out priorities.
Under this plan, the government will evaluate the following:
- What teeth are decayed (or close to decay)
- How many teeth are decayed, AND
- How many Australians have untreated decay
Number of People Diagnosed with Periodontitis Tooth Loss
- How many adults (aged 45 and over) have complete tooth loss?
- How many adults have less than 21 teeth? AND,
- What is the mean number of missing teeth?
Consequences of Tooth Decay
- How many people are suffering from toothaches or other symptoms?
- How many people are avoiding foods due to dental problems? AND,
- How many people aren’t happy with their mouth or teeth?
The Sugar Tax
The Sugar Tax was proposed by the Australian Medical Association (AMA). And, according to AMA, they believe that a tax of A$0.40 per 100 grams of sugar (per unit of product) would suffice. That means that, say, a can of Coca Cola (containing 40 grams of sugar) will be taxed at A$0.16. With that said, the tax (as proposed by the AMA) will determine how much sugar will be taxed per unit of product.
Essentially, a sugar-sweetened beverage tax would do the following:
- Reduce how many sugar-sweetened beverages consumed by Australians
- Encourage the beverage industry to reduce sugar content in their processed foods and beverages
- Halt diagnoses of obesity
- Halt symptoms of being overweight, diabetes, and heart disease
- Reduce dental hospitalizations (like tooth decay)
- Reduce subsequent health costs (especially for preventable hospital visits)
- Usher in increased funding for better public health initiatives
- Provide increased funding for implementing prevention strategies and management of diseases causes by too much sugar consumption
- Raise community awareness of the negative health effects of sweetened foods and beverages, AND
- Encourage education on this health issue in schools and universities
Ultimately, the Sugar Tax in Australia will encourage more awareness, education, and prevention of sugar-related health issues (like tooth decay) in the country.
What Can Be Done
Going back to students in college and university – the youth community, specifically – what can be done to prevent tooth decay in Australia? First off, reduce your stress by getting assignment help from highly-qualified experts who are completing the most difficult assignments on a daily basis.
As mentioned in this overview, there has to be awareness, education, and prevention when it comes to tooth decay. With that said, here are some helpful tips on preventing tooth decay:
- Raise awareness about the dangers of excessive sugary consumption.
- Suggest communal ideas on reducing sugar levels in diet
- Look for initiatives that value and focus on oral health.
- Advocate for a Sugar Tax (as mentioned earlier) in Australia, which taxes sugary beverages and other products, and holds sugary product companies accountable.
- Reduce sponsorship of sporting and recreational activities by companies promoting high sugar food and drink products, particularly those activities directed at children.
- Change up on some of your shopping habits by looking for healthier options.
- Read up on the “hidden sugars” (i.e., glucose, fructose, etc.) on the Nutritional Labels of food and drink products; etc.
The list goes on, but this list goes to show that there are many ways to prevent tooth decay in Australians.
The Bottom Line
Overall, tooth decay is a universal issue. However, Australia is one of the biggest casualties of this oral health issue. Without enough awareness – or even good oral hygiene – Australians are at risk of tooth loss and hospitalizations.
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Therefore, it’s important for Australians to not only raise awareness of tooth decay, but to also practice this awareness themselves. By pinpointing the risks, prevention will flourish. By increasing awareness, more and more citizens will do their part. With the red flag of tooth decay presented, with practical solutions (i.e., public awareness and education), and with government intervention (with the Sugar Tax), Australians – including youth and students – will be able to prevent tooth decay and have better oral health.