World Oral Health Day – 20 March 2019
Oral ill-health is a global problem; around 90% of the world’s population will experience tooth decay, gum disease or other oral diseases at some point in their lives. In South Africa, where we have limited dental public health services, an estimated 60% of primary school children already have dental decay; the majority will not receive treatment.
Fortunately, most oral diseases are preventable and prevention is the key message to this year’s World Oral Health Day on 20 March. The FDI World Dental Federation is calling on everyone to take action to prevent oral disease and protect their overall health with the theme ‘Say Ahh: Act on Mouth Health’.
Our Oral Hygiene Advisor, Dirna Grobbelaar, agrees that taking action and following an effective daily oral care routine is vital to maintain a healthy mouth for life. She recommends these three daily steps for good oral health:
- Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, using a manual or powerbrush, like the new Sunstar GUM ActiVital Sonic toothbrush. World Oral Health Day tip: don’t rinse with water straight after brushing, simply spit out any excess toothpaste.
- Clean in-between the teeth every day, using floss or another tool, such as Sunstar GUM Soft-Picks or tiny interdental If you’re not sure how to do it correctly, or what tool to use, ask your dentist or oral hygienist
- Rinse, either as a final step, after eating or when brushing isn’t possible. Use an alcohol-free mouthwash containing fluoride (like Dentyl Dual Action or Sunstar GUM Original White) or chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva and naturally ‘rinse’ the mouth.
In addition to your daily three step oral care routine, the World Oral Health Day campaign recommends several lifestyle tips for a healthy mouth, including:
- Eat a nutritious diet and limit high-sugar snacks and drinks. In a bid to reduce non-communicable ‘lifestyle’ diseases, including dental caries, the World Health Organisation (WHO) now recommends reducing ‘free’ sugar consumption to less than 5% of total energy intake.
- Don’t smoke and limit alcohol. Tobacco and alcohol increase the risk of gum disease and oral cancer. If you use a mouthwash, choose an alcohol-free variety (like Dentyl Dual Action or Sunstar GUM Original White or Alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash).
- If you do contact sport, protect your teeth with a mouth guard.
Dirna advises that everyone has regular dental check-ups and cleanings. “If possible see the dentist at least once a year and ideally have a professional scale and polish every six months. The dentist or oral hygienist can remove plaque and tartar that you are unable to remove by brushing. If not removed, the build-up will irritate the gums and cause gum disease.”
Prevention, early detection and prompt treatment will help you reduce the risk of oral diseases and ensure the best treatment outcome. For the sake of your health, it’s time to wise-up on your oral hygiene and ‘Act on Mouth Health’.
For more expert oral care advice speak to your dental professional or sign up for our monthly Ivohealth newsletter, packed with expert info, news and competitions.
To test your oral health know-how complete the World Oral Health Day checklist www.worldoralhealthday.org.
Expert advice for fresh breath
According to experts, around half of South Africans suffer from bad breath and this is often due simply to inadequate oral hygiene. We asked three dental professionals to explain the most essential steps to help you beat bad breath for good.
Dr Linda Greenwall is a London-based dentist who founded the Dental Wellness Trust. Their South African LiveSmart programme currently teaches good oral care to 15,000 children in poorly-resourced areas of Cape Town and Johannesburg. Greenwall says many South Africans don’t know the basic oral skills: “When they first join us many children don’t own a toothbrush, they may share one with their family. It’s unsurprising so many have dental disease before the age of six. Brushing the teeth correctly twice a day is essential for good oral health, fresh breath and to prevent cavities.”
This isn’t only a problem in low-income areas; according to Angelique Kearney, President of the Oral Hygiene Association of South Africa (OHASA). ”More than half of South Africans suffer from bad breath, medically known as halitosis. It goes hand in hand with poor oral hygiene, gum disease and other oral health issues. Only a very small percentage of cases of oral malodour are caused by sinus problems or metabolic diseases.”
Bad breath is caused by bacteria on the teeth, gums and tongue. “If bacteria, plaque and food debris are not properly removed from the mouth they break down and release foul-smelling gases, irritate the gums and potentially cause disease,” says Dirna Grobbelaar, Ivohealth’s Oral Hygiene Advisor.
“Additional tools like an alcohol-free mouthwash and toothpaste are helpful, but most important part of your oral care routine is the mechanical removal of plaque on the teeth”, says Kearney.
All three experts agree an effective daily oral care routine is the best way to keep the mouth healthy and breath fresh. Grobbelaar explains the four essential steps to beat bad breath:
- Brush correctly twice a day for a full two minutes each time, this will remove about 50% of plaque. Use a soft-bristled brush and small movements. Don’t brush hard, it can damage your gums. Sonic toothbrushes – like the Philips Sonicare or Sunstar GUM ActiVital Sonic have been shown to remove more plaque than a manual brush.
- Clean in-between the teeth every day, using floss or another interdental tool, such as Sunstar GUM Soft-Picks or tiny interdental brushes. If you’re not sure how to do it correctly, or which tool to use, ask your dental professional. These videos will help you can floss like a boss.
- Remove plaque and food debris from the tongue by gently scraping the surface once a day using a teaspoon or a tool specially designed for the job like the Sunstar GUM Tongue Cleaner.
- In addition to your daily routine, book an appointment with your dentist at least once a year and ideally go for a professional clean every six months. Dentists and oral hygienists have the expertise and tools to remove plaque and tartar that you can’t, even with the most meticulous oral routine.
To check if your oral routine is really effective, try Sunstar GUM Red-Cote Disclosing Tablets, available from dentists and pharmacies. Simply chew one of the cherry-flavoured tablets after brushing to reveal any areas you’ve missed, then brush and floss again until your mouth is completely clean. These are great tools to help teach children good oral hygiene.
For expert oral advice, speak to your dental professional or subscribe to our monthly newsletter for up-to-date info and news.
If you’re planning a detox or diet after holiday over-indulging, be warned – bad breath can be more common among people who diet. The bacteria that cause oral malodour thrive in a dry environment. Usually the mouth is kept moist with saliva which is produced when we eat and sleep. Skipping meals dries out the mouth, and creates ideal conditions for the bacteria that cause bad breath.
Drinking plenty of water may give some relief. Our Clinical Advisor, Dr Stephné Fenwick, also recommends Dentyl Dual Action: “After brushing and cleaning in-between the teeth, rinse with alcohol-free Dentyl Dual Action – it’s an excellent third and final step to your oral care routine and will provide extra fresh breath confidence.”
Clinically proven to help freshen breath for up to 12 hours, Dentyl Dual Action is a distinctive two phase mouthwash. Simply shake to activate, then swish and rinse. Dentyl Dual Action will lift bacteria and plaque from teeth and gums. For visible proof, look in the sink!
It’s the two phases that makes Dentyl Dual Action so effective yet gentle. Aqua-based antibacterial phase one helps remove bacteria; phase two contains natural essential oils that help gently moisturise oral tissue. Because it’s alcohol-free, Dentyl Dual Action doesn’t sting or dry out the mouth. It contains fluoride to support healthy teeth and gums.
Dentyl Dual Action is recommended by dental professionals around the world and available from Dis-Chem, Clicks, selected Pick n Pay, Checkers, Spar & pharmacies.
To enjoy all-day fresh breath confidence this summer, simply shake it up with Dentyl Dual Action alcohol-free mouthwash. You could even win a gorgeous Turkish cotton towel.
Dentyl Dual Action is a distinctive two phase mouthwash. Shake to activate, then swish and rinse. Because it’s alcohol-free, Dentyl Dual Action doesn’t sting or dry out the mouth. It contains fluoride to support healthy teeth and gums and is clinically proven to help freshen breath for up to 12 hours.
Our Clinical Advisor, Dr Stephné Fenwick recommends Dentyl Dual Action: “Good oral health is essential for our overall health and well-being. Using an alcohol-free mouthwash, after brushing and cleaning in-between the teeth, is an excellent third and final step to your oral care routine.”
With holidays, festive kisses and summer fun on the horizon, you can trust Dentyl Dual Action to help keep it fresh. For expert advice on how else to beat bad breath read our article.
Show us how you’ll be shaking it up this summer and win a Dentyl Dual Action hamper worth R530 including a gorgeous Turkish cotton towel. Post your pic, video, gif or comment on Facebook or Instagram @ivohealth with the #DentylShakeUp hashtag before 14 December. Ts & Cs apply.
By: Diane Rochford RDH, BSc (Hons); Dental Wellness Trust Oral Hygiene Clinical Advisor
When it comes to cleaning in-between the teeth, what’s more effective – traditional floss or interdental brushes? We asked London-based Diane Rochford (RDH, BSc Hons), Oral Hygiene Clinical Advisor to the Dental Wellness Trust for her expert opinion:
“Every mouth, tooth and space between the teeth is different. Recent studies show that interdental brushes can be more effective than floss, but the key to effective interdental cleaning is doing it daily.
Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria which adheres to all tooth surfaces. If it’s not removed daily – by brushing and cleaning in between the teeth – the bacteria irritates the gums, causing them to look red and swollen, they may bleed when brushing – these are the signs of early gum disease.
At the Dental Wellness Trust we advocate easy, effective interdental cleaning that fits into your daily oral hygiene routine, to maintain good oral health. There are a range of different products available, but which is best?
Interdental brushes look like miniature bottle brushes, they are available in a range of sizes, easily identified by the colour of the handle. They are designed to fit snuggly between the teeth removing plaque efficiently. They can however be expensive to buy and frequently more than one size of brush is required.
Interdental sticks – like new Sunstar GUM Soft-Picks Advanced – have become increasingly popular and widely available. They are a good alternative to traditional wood sticks, the tapered rubber bristles remove interdental plaque and food debris with ease, they promote good oral hygiene habits and compliance.
Dental floss can also be successful for plaque removal if used daily and with good technique, especially where the interdental spaces are tight. Floss is relatively inexpensive and ‘floss on a handle’ makes it simple and effective to use.
Seeking advice from your dentist or oral hygienist is advised. They will instruction for safe and effective use and recommend the best product, provide motivate for daily use, with the aim of maintaining healthy gums and teeth for life.
Curves are beautiful in any size and Sunstar GUM Soft-Picks Advanced, the only curved dental picks on the market, are now available in small, regular and large options. With a size for every smile, GUM Soft-Picks Advanced are perfect for cleaning narrow or wide interdental spaces.
Designed by Sunstar GUM’s oral care experts especially for effective cleaning in-between, GUM Soft-Picks Advanced are ideal for anyone who finds flossing a fuss, but understands a healthy mouth equals a healthy body. Curved to follow the natural shape of the jaw, the innovative shape makes it easy to reach between each tooth – even those at the far back of the mouth. The soft rubber bristles gently dislodge food and plaque, whilst giving the gums a gentle micro-massage.
Ideal for cleaning orthodontics, bridges and implants, they are safe to use, even for those with sensitive gums. GUM Soft-Picks Advanced are convenient to use on the go, there’s a handy travel case in each pack – and as part of your daily oral care routine.
GUM Soft-Picks Advanced are available from Clicks, selected dentists, Dis-Chem, Pick n Pay and pharmacies at a recommended retail price of R89 (for a pack of 30 including a handy travel case).
GUM Soft-Picks Advanced are recommended by dental professionals around the world. If you’re not sure which size best suits your smile, ask your dentist or oral hygienist for expert advice.
Benefits of GUM Soft-Picks Advanced
- Curved to follow the natural shape of the jaw
- Soft, flexible rubber bristles slide comfortably between teeth to safely remove plaque and food particles
- Now available in 3 sizes to adapt to smaller and larger interdental spaces
- Gently stimulate and micro-massage gums for a pleasant sensation and optimal gum health
- Latex, wood, and metal free
- Recommended by dental professionals
- Suitable for use with orthodontics, bridges and implants
- Free travel case included
Anyone who has ever experienced a mouth ulcer knows that just a little sore in the wrong place can be a big pain. Here’s expert advice from Dirna Grobbelaar, our Oral Hygiene Advisor, to you prevent mouth ulcer misery.
Mouth ulcers only appear inside the mouth, unlike cold sores or fever blisters, which only appear outside, usually on the lips or around the mouth. You’ll find mouth ulcers on the tongue or lining of the mouth, in singles or multiples. They are usually round and reddish.
Causes of Mouth Ulcers:
Most people will experience a sore inside the mouth at some point. These are often caused by a minor injury – biting the cheek accidentally, consuming food or drink that’s too hot, poorly-fitting dentures or braces, especially when orthodontics are initially fitted.
Aphthous ulcers are the ones that recur and often first appear in childhood or adolescence. They tend to return during hormonal changes, times of stress or anytime that the immune system is compromised for some reason.
Some people find eating acidic fruit (like pineapples, tomatoes or oranges) can cause mouth ulcers. Babies and young children might develop them because of common viruses like Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease and the Coxsackie Virus.
Stress is a very common trigger for ulcers. They can also be a sign of conditions like coeliac disease or nutritional deficiencies (e.g. vitamin B12 which is common in vegans, zinc, iron or folic acid).
Treatment for Mouth Ulcers:
Mouth ulcers are not contagious and usually clear up by themselves in a few days. A proper oral hygiene routine to keep the mouth as clean as possible help them heal more quickly. For more on the ideal oral care routine when you have ulcers read this blog article.
There are various over-the-counter medications available that help relieve the discomfort and pain. We recommend Aloclair gel or spray which are easy to apply, even in a young child’s mouth. The soothing Aloclair formula contains aloe vera and helps form a barrier over the exposed nerve endings, giving almost immediate relief.
Mouth ulcers tend to last up to 10 to 14 days. Consult your doctor or dentist if your ulcer does not heal within three weeks. Oral cancer is predicted to treble in the next generation and it’s important to rule it out.
Five tips to manage mouth ulcers:
- Avoid very hot, spicy, salty or acidic foods and drink
- Use Aloclair gel or sprayto form a protective barrier over the ulcer
- Use a straw when drinking
- Rinse with GUM Alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash, an alcohol-free mouthrinse
- Maintain a good oral hygiene routine using GUM Alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash gel (instead of a strong, minty toothpaste) with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush
For further advice speak to your doctor, dentist or pharmacist.
We recommend these products to help manage mouth ulcers:
Aloclair Spray (15ml)
Aloclair Gel (8ml)
These products are available from Dis-Chem, selected pharmacies and dentists.
Reindeers are not the only creatures with red noses in winter. People with colds, flu and allergies often experience a chapped nose or lips from constant nose-blowing. Here’s practical advice from our oral care advisor, Dirna Grobbelaar, to help you prevent chafing and protect your skin this winter.
When you frequently blow your nose, the delicate skin around the nose and lips becomes dry and irritated. Small, almost invisible, cracks are formed and these are exacerbated with every wipe. Over time the skin can become inflamed and chapped or chafed.
Start by giving the skin some extra protection immediately, using a barrier cream, moisturiser, petroleum jelly, or a product specifically created to repair the delicate skin such as Letibalm, the only balm specially formulated for the nose, lips and skin in-between. It forms a protective layer on the skin. When you blow, use extra soft tissues or toilet paper. Look for ones infused with aloe vera. Instead of wiping, pat or softly dab dry.
You can help hydrate the skin from the inside. Eat a nourishing diet including fresh fruit, vegetables and healthy fats; drink plenty of water, rooibos or herbal teas. Extra fluids can help thin mucus. Loose mucous can mean less nose blowing. A simple nasal saline solution can work wonders to clear stuffiness. If your nose is blocked, gently spray twice a day.
Warm soup and hot drinks are soothing and help relieve congestion. As steam rises it moistens the nasal passage and helps open up a stuffy nose. A steam bath works in the same way. Or use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
Damaged and irritated skin is more prone to infections. Wash your hands regularly and keep the skin clean. When it comes to baths and showers, avoid harsh soaps, facial scrubs and very hot water, which can dry out the skin. Reapply moisturiser after bathing, and remember to reapply Letibalm each time you blow your nose.
Eight winter skincare tips for nose and lips:
- Keep the skin well-moisturised.
- Use very soft tissues or toilet paper with aloe vera or calendula.
- Gently pat or blot the nose rather than wipe.
- Apply Letibalm nose and lip repair balm to protect, moisturize and help heal the skin.
- Wash with lukewarm water, avoiding harsh soaps or exfoliators.
- Use a saline spray to keep nasal passages moist.
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
- Drink plenty of water, hot broth or herbal tea.
Letibalm Paediatric (suitable for children 0 to 8 years old) and regular Letibalm (10ml fluid or jar). Available from Dis-Chem, selected Checkers stores and independent pharmacies at a recommended retail price of R70.
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, simply means absent or reduced saliva. If your mouth often feels sticky, or a cool glass of water doesn’t take away your thirst, you may be suffering from this common medical condition, which affects an estimated 20% of people; women and the elderly are more at risk.
Dry mouth can be caused by certain diseases, including diabetes and Sjogren’s syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease. However, the most likely culprit is medication – over 400 prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines state dry mouth as a possible side-effect. This includes medication for allergies, asthma, colds, depression, epilepsy, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and urinary incontinence.
If you are thirsting for relief, here are 5 simple strategies to help deal with your dry mouth dilemmas:
- Consult your dentist or doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
- Follow a meticulous daily oral care routine with regular dental check-ups. With less saliva to keep the mouth clean, dry mouth sufferers are at a much higher risk of tooth decay, bad breath and gum disease.
- Use Sunstar GUM Hydral Moisturising Gel and Spray (available at Dis-Chem and leading pharmacies) to hydrate, soothe and protect.
- Drink plenty of regular water (not carbonated), sipping frequently.
- Chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva flow and provide temporary relief.
During April we are inviting 10 of our Ivohealth fans to be part of a #GUMHydral product review panel. Head over to our Facebook page to apply, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘GUM Hydral – product review panel’ in the subject line.
For more detailed information on dry mouth click here or speak to your dentist, doctor or pharmacist.
Say Ahh: Think Mouth, Think Health
A healthy mouth and a healthy body go hand in hand and this is the key message behind this year’s World Oral Health Day theme ‘Say Ahh: Think Mouth, Think Health’.
Oral diseases affect 3.9 billion people around the world and untreated tooth decay touches 44% of people globally – almost half the world’s population. Understanding the mouth and body connection can help prevent you and your family from being added to these staggering numbers.
It is said the ‘mouth is a mirror to your body’. A look into the mouth can reveal nutritional deficiencies, diseases and unhealthy habits, like smoking. A healthy mouth allows you to speak, smile, eat and drink with confidence, can boost social interaction and self-esteem. An unhealthy mouth can cause discomfort, disease, lost school or work days and lead to social isolation and low self-confidence.
The World Oral Health Day campaign highlights three pillars for good oral health:
Prevention – adopt good oral hygiene habits, eat a healthy diet (one that is low in sugar), limit alcohol-intake and don’t smoke.
Detection – have regular dental check-ups (at least once a year)
Treatment – you should see your dentist immediately if you experience dental problems. On a global level, the Federation for Dental Health is encouraging people around the world to lobby for better access to dental care for all.
To download a brochure, personalise your own WOHD poster or gather more info visit www.worldoralhealthday.org.