HCF Fit and Well : Summer 2012
Kiss of approval ORAL HEALTH 16 ft&well Photos: iStockphoto You might be surprised that your health can be affected by how healthy your mouth is. In fact, a tooth infection can compromise the rest of your body. Here's what to look out for. Common culprits Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth that can form into plaque. Plaque sticks to your teeth and can result in holes (cavities). Gingivitis is a common gum disease, caused by bacterial infection of gum surface tissues. Periodontitis occurs when the bacterial infection reaches into the deeper gum tissue. Symptoms of these problems include bleeding gums after flossing and brushing, having bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth, receding gums, sensitive teeth or gums, or loose teeth. Gum disease can be prevented by regular brushing, flossing, mouth washes and dental check-ups. Other problem areas Wisdom teeth are a common concern. Sometimes hidden beneath the gums, wisdom teeth can cause damage to your mouth and other teeth. One solution is removal to prevent infection and to preser ve other teeth. If you have Extras cover, you'll be For a healthy body, start with a healthy mouth. covered for wisdom tooth removal (after a 12-month waiting period). Contact sports can result in damaged or lost teeth, so a proper mouthguard is important. The Australian Dental Association recommends wearing one if you're playing football, rugby, martial arts, boxing, basketball, hockey, netball or softball. HCF Dental Centres can fit you with a mouthguard (a two-month waiting period applies). Smoking is the main cause of mouth cancer, stains teeth, thickens saliva and increases the risk of gum disease. Regular dentist visits are a must for smokers. Pregnancy is a particularly important time for ensuring good oral health, as research suggests that there is a link between a mother's periodontal gum disease and in utero teeth development, premature births and gestational diabetes. While dentistry helps correct problems, it also helps prevent problems. Check-ups and adequate oral hygiene practices are vital for a healthy mouth and healthy body. For a healthy mouth Oral health can lead to better all-round health. If you have Extras cover you are entitled to two dental check-ups each year. These are fully covered at an HCF Sydney Dental Centre or through HCF's Oral Health program. The Oral Health Program is available to members in VIC, ACT, QLD, SA and regional NSW. Call 13 13 34 for details or visit the members section at www.hcf.com.au/members. Health tip Keep toothbrushes in the bathroom cupboard to avoid bristle contamination by airborne bacteria. FLOSSING For a healthy mouth, it's important to floss every day to help remove plaque from between your teeth in places a toothbrush can't reach. To use correctly, wrap a length of dental floss between your middle fingers on both hands and use a gentle sawing motion between each tooth.