8: Oral Health Promotion

CHAPTER 8 Oral Health Promotion

The oral health message

Most oral diseases, including not only the more common problems (such as tooth surface loss due to caries, trauma, abrasion, erosion and periodontal disease) but also potentially fatal diseases (such as cancer), are largely related to people’s lifestyle and habits (Table 8.1). Thus these diseases are often preventable by careful attention to lifestyle. For example, oral health can be improved by:

TABLE 8.1 Oral Diseases Related to Lifestyle Habits

Disease Risk Factor
Abrasion Incorrect toothbrushing
Cancer Tobacco, alcohol, betel nut use
Candidosis Dry mouth, antibiotic use, HIV and other immunity problems
Caries High sugar diet, low fluoride
Erosion Soft drinks, fruit juices, alcohol
Gingivitis Plaque accumulation
Halitosis Plaque accumulation, tobacco use, alcohol use
Periodontitis Plaque and calculus accumulation, tobacco use
Trauma Alcohol use; some contact sports


General advice

Refined carbohydrates and sugars, particularly non-milk extrinsic sugars in items other than fresh fruits and vegetables, are the major causes of dental caries (Chapter 5). The frequency of intake is more important than the amount. Thus to lessen the chances of accumulating dental plaque, and developing caries, it is important to limit and reduce the frequency of consumption of sugary foods, such as restricting them to meal times.

Older children and adults


Fluoride can protect teeth against caries by:

Fluoride varnishes

Fluoride varnish is one of the best options for the application of topical fluoride to teeth. Fluoride varnish can also arrest existing caries (stop it spreading) on the smooth surfaces of deciduous teeth and roots of permanent teeth.

Sodium fluoride varnish is well accepted and considered safe. The application process is simple and requires minimal training:

There is a small risk of allergy to the colophony component of Duraphat. Therefore varnish application is contraindicated for children who have a history of allergies, including asthma. Duraphat is also contraindicated in patients with ulcerative gingivitis and stomatitis (see Chapter 5).

Jan 8, 2015 | Posted by in Dental Nursing and Assisting | Comments Off on 8: Oral Health Promotion
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