Oral health of adults has improved over the past fifty years with more people retaining some of their teeth throughout their lives. Oral diseases can cause pain and discomfort, sleepless nights, loss of function and self-esteem which in turn can disrupt family life and lead to time off work. Experiencing tooth decay or having missing teeth or ill-fitting dentures can lead to an individual becoming socially isolated; this may negatively affect their confidence and employment chances.
Frequent consumption of free sugars in large amounts or frequent, tobacco use and consuming a high level of alcohol have an impact on the oral health. Eating a healthy balanced diet containing fruit, vegetables, low in fat, salt and sugar and based on whole grain products is important for good general health and oral health. Regular toothbrushing with fluoride toothpaste will help reduce tooth decay and gum disease.
Tooth decay is the most common oral disease affecting children and young people in England, yet it is largely preventable. Extractions of decayed teeth was the most common reason for hospital admissions in children aged between 5-9 years.
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Poor oral health impacts on children and family’s wellbeing and is costly to treat. Poor oral health in children may be indicative of wider health and social care issues such as poor nutrition, obesity, lack of parenting support and possibly safeguarding and neglect. Like adults, the regular consumption of foods and drinks high in free sugars increases the risk of obesity and tooth decay. Twice daily toothbrushing with a fluoride toothpaste can prevent tooth decay.