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 Paroex).
- 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.
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.
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 two minutes each time, with a soft-bristled 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.
- Go for an annual check-up at the dentist and ideally have a professional clean with the oral hygienist to remove plaque and tartar build-up you’re unable to remove by normal brushing and flossing.
“Additional tools like an alcohol-free mouthwash and toothpaste are helpful, but the most important part of your oral care routine is the mechanical removal of plaque on the teeth,” says Kearney.
For further expert oral care advice speak to your dental professional or read this article.
Test your #FreshBreathPower this February
How well does your oral health know-how score? Take the #FreshBreathPower quiz this February to find out. You could win a fabulous Sunstar GUM oral care prize worth over R 1, 510 and Sunstar GUM will donate a children’s toothbrush to the Dental Wellness Trust on your behalf to brighten a child’s smile. Terms and conditions apply.
September is National Oral Health Month
Following on from the international news reports last year that flossing is no longer necessary, should you still clean in-between? According to local dental professionals – absolutely! Says Stella Lamprecht, President of the Oral Hygienists’ Association of South Africa, “We can honestly say you only have to floss those teeth that you would like to keep. There are a lot of conflicting messages out there, but as oral hygienists, we recommend that you floss.”
The South African Dental Association (SADA) shares a similar view, “It is essential to floss or to use interdental brushes,” says Dr Nosipho Mzobe, SADA’s Head of Education. “The aim is to minimise the bacteria and micro-organisms that build up in the mouth causing tooth decay and disease. Brushing alone cannot remove it all, particularly in-between the teeth.”
Each tooth has five surfaces and brushing can reach only three. The other two surfaces are usually in close contact, allowing food debris and bacteria to get stuck and build up, above and below the gums. If this is not removed properly it will irritate the gums and eventually cause disease.
Although daily flossing or interdental cleaning is recommended, less than a third of South Africans floss on the recommended daily basis. Many people cite a lack of time or finding floss difficult to use. “It’s important to use floss correctly, otherwise you it may be ineffective or even damaging,” says Dr Mzobe. “Ask your oral hygienist or dentist to show you the correct method.”
“Cleaning in-between can be quick and easy if you have the right tools and know how,” says Ivohealth’s oral hygiene advisor Dirna Grobbelaar. She recommends using traditional string floss or a special tool. “Interdental brushes are excellent at cleaning bigger gaps, around braces, bridges or crowns. Floss on handle, like disposable GUM Easy Flossers are great for children or people with limited dexterity. If budget allows, consider power options like the Panasonic Oral Irrigator or the Sonicare AirFloss which jets a microburst of air and water between the teeth. Any of these tools can be effective; the main thing is to find a floss or tool that suits you, your mouth and your lifestyle,” says Grobbelaar.
How to ‘floss like a boss’ for a clean, fresh, healthy mouth:
- Take about 30cm of floss
- Wind the floss around your middle fingers
- Hold it floss between thumbs and index fingers
- Slide the floss in-between teeth using a gentle back-and-forth sawing action
- Fold floss around the side of a tooth in a C-shape
- Slide the floss up and down, against tooth and just under the gum line
- Repeat on the neighbouring tooth
- Pull out and repeat using a clean section of the floss
Watch the 30 second ‘how to floss’ videos, for people with normal teeth, implants and braces. There’s even a video on ‘alternatives to floss’.
Says Cape Town oral hygienist Elna van der Ham, “A clean tooth cannot be diseased. Discarding the use of dental floss would be irresponsible to say the least.”
We are proud to announce that our parent company Ivodent, has partnered with Liechtenstein-based Ivoclar Vivadent, leading manufacturers of innovative dental applications, to open a high-tech dental training and continuing education centre.
Based in Cape Town, this International Centre for Dental Education (ICDE), the first in Southern Africa, will draw dentists, dental technologists, therapists and oral hygienists to its workshop, which is equipped with the very latest in state-of-the-art training equipment.
“It is vital to keep the profession well informed,” says Ian Hockly, Technical Advisor, Ivodent, which takes on the responsibility and management of the centre, the culmination of a long collaboration between Ivodent and Ivoclar Vivadent.
“We are moving into an era of dentistry only dreamt about many years ago. Many procedures can now be done in a lab using Cadcam, and there are developments such as three-D printing and the potential of robotics.
“But advances in technologies and materials can be confusing and a facility such as this will help the profession stay abreast with developments as they happen. Continuing education is essential to place new products in the market and have the correct protocols to achieve desired predictable results,” says Hockly.
“Continuing education is essential to keep SA dental professionals up to date to serve the needs of their patients at the highest level. The centre opens exciting educational opportunities for the dental community of SA and neighbouring countries.”
For details on the Ivodent International Centre for Dental Education view www.ivodentonline.co.za.
Mouth ulcers are usually a small problem that can be a big pain, making eating, drinking or even talking uncomfortable.
About three-quarters of people will experience mouth ulcers at some point. They are often caused by a minor injury (e.g. biting the cheek accidentally) or can be recurring ‘aphthous’ ulcers, which often first appear in childhood and adolescence. Allergies can trigger mouth ulcers and babies and young children often develop them as a result of common viruses including Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, the Coksackie Virus and Herpes Simplex (Herpetic Gingivostomatitis).
Our oral hygiene expert Dirna Grobbelaar says that whilst ulcers can be uncomfortable, they should not be a cause for too much concern. “Mouth ulcers are not contagious and usually clear up by themselves in a few days.”
She does, however, warn against neglecting one’s oral care routine. “Mouth ulcers expose sensitive nerve endings which can make cleaning your mouth uncomfortable. However, maintaining good oral hygiene at this time can promote quicker healing and will keep your teeth and gums healthy.
“After eating and before going to bed, rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash such as GUM Paroex to help prevent the ulcer becoming infected. Continue to brush your teeth correctly twice a day, using a soft-bristled or child’s toothbrush if necessary. If your toothpaste stings try a non-foaming toothpaste like GUM Paroex Gel or all-natural Olgani Herbal Toothpaste.
“Avoid acidic, spicy or salty foods and drinks, which may burn. Drinking with a straw may help, but be careful that hot drinks do not burn the throat.”
There are various products available at pharmacies to relieve the pain of mouth ulcers. Grobbelaar recommends Aloclair gel or spray. “Aloclair forms a barrier over the sensitive nerve endings to give immediate pain relief. The protective coating helps reduce irritation and prevent food or bacteria infecting the ulcer. This allows the ulcer to heal faster. The spray and gel are easy to apply and contain soothing Aloe Vera.”
Most mouth ulcers will last up to 10 days before clearing up naturally. If an ulcer does not heal within two to three weeks consult your doctor or dentist – oral cancer rates are on the rise globally and predicted to treble in the next generation. An ulcer can be an early indicator and it is important to rule this out.
Winter weather, colds and ‘flu can play havoc with your skin. To help avoid the ‘Rudolph’ red nose look here’s handy advice from Dirna Grobbelaar on caring for the lips, nose and skin in-between.
Constant nose blowing and cold weather can result in the delicate skin between the nose and lips becoming dry and irritated. Small cracks appear, which are exacerbated each time you wipe the nose. The area becomes chapped, red and sore.
If you are unlucky enough to catch a cold, take special care right from
the start. Keep your skin well-moisturised and apply Letibalm Nose and Lip Repair regularly. It is specially formulated to protect and help heal this area. Use only extra-soft tissues containing Aloe vera, calendula or vitamin E.
Never use rough kitchen towel or serviettes. Rather than rubbing or wiping repeatedly, just gently blot the nose. A humidifier in the room adds moisture to the air and can help prevent skin drying out. Using a nasal spray or saline solution can help hydrate the nasal passages.
You can also help hydrate and boost the skin from the inside; eat a nutritious diet containing lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and healthy fats; drink plenty of water, rooibos or herbal teas; warm drinks are soothing and can help relieve congestion; extra fluids can also help to thin mucus, relieving a stuffy nose.
Instead of long, hot showers which can dry out the skin, rather use cool or lukewarm water. Use a gentle cleanser and avoid harsh soaps or facial scrubs. And always moisturize after a bath or shower, adding a few drops of extra oil to your cream or lotion.
Chapped skin is more susceptible to infection, so make sure you wash your hands before applying moisturizer. It will also help prevent the spread of germs.
Eight skincare tips to protect the nose and lips
- Keep the skin well-moisturised.
- Use super-soft tissues with Aloe vera or calendula.
- Gently blot the nose rather than rubbing or wiping.
- Apply Letibalm nose and lip repair balm to protect, moisturize and help heal the skin.
- Wash with cool or 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 or herbal teas.
Letibalm Paediatric Nose and Lip Repair Balm (suitable for babies from birth), Letibalm Junior Nose and Lip Repair Fluid (for children 1 year and older) and regular Letibalm (10ml fluid or balm). Available from Dis-Chem, selected Checkers stores and independent pharmacies.
Unlike the Easter bunny, whose teeth grow continually, our adult teeth are permanent and stop growing once they have emerged from the gums. Tooth decay is the world’s most common health condition, so taking proper care is essential if you wish to keep them. Here’s expert advice on how to maintain healthy teeth, even when there are so many high-sugar Easter treats on offer.
“Dental decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth, known as plaque, breaks down food releasing acid which erodes the teeth,” says Dirna Grobbelaar, Ivohealth’s oral hygiene advisor. “If plaque is not removed it will cause tooth decay and gum disease.”
The most effective way to remove plaque is to simply clean the teeth, brushing correctly at least twice a day. Ideally use a soft-bristled brush, which won’t damage the gums, and thoroughly clean all three tooth surfaces (top, front and back). To help you brush for the full two minutes (as recommended by dentists), use a timer, an app or a brush with a built-in timer, like the Philips Sonicare powerbrush.
Daily cleaning in-between is essential and should start once the teeth begin to touch, usually from around age two. Floss is not everyone’s first choice, but these days there are plenty of options; Sunstar GUM has a huge range of interdental tools, including Soft-Picks (high-tech toothpicks), interdental brushes and floss handles. Or look an irrigator that directs jets of water between the teeth. The Panasonic Oral Irrigator is good, especially for people with implants or orthodontic braces.
Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet. On the whole, it’s best to avoid sugary foods and drinks. When you do occasionally indulge, don’t brush immediately, as the sugar will have temporarily softened your tooth’s enamel. Rather rinse with water or an alcohol-free mouthwash, like Dentyl Dual Action, immediately after. Wait an hour or so before brushing.
How often you eat is another factor. From a dental perspective, a brief fluctuation in pH balance is better than a continual bombardment. Regular meals or a single choc-fest is actually better for your teeth than eating small snacks and treats throughout the day.
Last, but not least, a professional clean with the oral hygienist every six months and a check-up with the dentist each year will ensure any problems are picked up before they become serious.
For more expert advice speak to your dentist or oral hygienist.
Operation Smile is an international medical charity whose global network of thousands of credentialed medical volunteers from around all over the world is dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children from more than 60 countries. Since its founding in 1982, Operation Smile has provided more than 240,000 free surgical procedures for children and young adults born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. To build long-term sufficiency in resource-poor environments, Operation Smile trains doctors and local medical professionals in its partner countries so that they are empowered to treat their local communities and help others around the world. Operation Smile also donates medical equipment and supplies and provides year-round medical treatment through its worldwide centres.
OPERATION SMILE SOUTH AFRICA
Operation Smile expanded its reach to South Africa in 2006. Since inception, Operation Smile South Africa (OSSA) has conducted nearly 50 missions across Africa and currently serves as the regional hub for Central and Southern Africa. Their work includes multiple missions to the DRC, Ghana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. While they continue to expand their footprint they can look back on over 6, 000 lives changed and look forward to changing untold more in the future.
Supporting Operation Smile South Africa
Ivohealth and Sunstar GUM are proud to support Operation Smile South Africa. In 2014 they sponsored dentist Dr Jean van Lierop and his Team AmaGumGum in the Cipla Miles for Smiles Mad Run. This February they are donating a Sunstar GUM toothbrush on behalf of every person that completes the #FreshBreathQuest.
Every 3 minutes, a child is born with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate.
A baby born with a cleft has twice the odds of dying before celebrating their first birthday.
One in every 1000 children globally is born with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate.
For more information visit their website http://southafrica.operationsmile.org/
Or find them on Facebook.
If you love natural products and care about what you put in – and onto – your body, opt for natural oral care that will effectively clean your mouth and nourish your body.
Olgani Naturals is a brand that cares about the health of the entire body and offers a completely natural oral health care option to protect and care for your teeth and gums. Olgani Naturals’ philosophy and core belief lies in proper oral and bodily care; because the body absorbs what we put onto and into it. The absorption properties of the oral mucosa are approximately two to three times higher than that of the epidermis, making the use of safe and healthy oral care products, critical. All Olgani toothpastes and mouth washes are made from specially selected medicinal plants and are completely edible – they’re as good for your body as they are for your pearly whites.
Here’s some good news for chocolate lovers – chocolate can actually be good for your teeth! Studies* have shown that chocolate may be more effective than fluoride in fighting tooth decay. “Real chocolate, made from cacao, contains compounds that help harden tooth enamel and has anti-bacterial properties that help fight plaque,” says Dirna Grobbelaar, Ivohealth’s oral hygiene expert. “It also has well-documented anti-inflammatory properties which can help prevent gum disease.”