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Remember: TTI The state of general dental health and what is important in daily dental hygiene

In Germany, the majority of children have escaped the inevitable gaps and fillings. Commenting on the fourth German Dental Health Report (Deutsche Mundgesundheitsstudie - DMS) commissioned by the Federal Dentist's Chamber (Bundeszahnärztekammer) commissioned in 2006, the Greifswald dental scientist Prof. Christian Splieth said: "modern society has decided that dental health should not be a oneway street to false teeth." The DMS is currently in its fifth round. The new study was the first to integrate the age group 75 and above. As such, the new results will reflect the dental health of Germans, the factors affecting oral Remember: TTI The state of general dental health and what is important in daily dental hygiene health and the scope for improvement in general domestic oral hygiene. The following section gives handy tips and advice for improving oral hygiene and survey the current state of oral health.

The fourth DMS, commissioned some ten years ago showed a reduction in caries in all age groups, and a higher level of caries restoration amongst the general population. The results also showed that although children from industrialised nations such as Germany are enjoying an ever greater level of healthy teeth; social differences still remain. Whilst the average 12 year old had seven carious teeth in the 1980s, this level had fallen to 0.7 by 2006. This corresponds to a reduction of 90 per cent. The development in other countries was not so positive. Thus the results from the World Caries Congress held last year in Greifswald. Indeed, the level of caries is increasing in newly industrialising countries. This is explained by the increasing levels of sugar consumption which accompany increasing prosperity, and the absence of an established treatment system for caries prevention. Countries such as Brazil, Lithuania and Poland are especially affected. In these countries, 12-year-olds have an average of six decaying teeth.

Positive and negative results

The fourth DMS showed that adults and senior citizens are able to retain their own teeth for much longer. Moreover, results show a positive trend in oral hygiene and the increase of regular visits to the dentist. More than two-thirds of respondents from all age groups were convinced that they could do "a great deal" or "a lot" to keep a healthy mouth and teeth. Nevertheless, the positive results were overshadowed by the increase in peridontological cases, which have increased to 26.9 per cent. This increase is caused by the fact that ever fewer teeth are being lost to caries. At the same time, the risk of periodontitis for natural teeth increases with age.

Proper oral care is the most important element

Oral care is the most important element in long-term dental health. Preventative measures are also growing in importance. Despite this insight, a recent report from Barmer GEK reveals shortcomings in this area. Only every second German took advantage of the preventative treatments open to them in 2012. The use of dental floss among the general public could also do with improvement. A study by the University of Witten/Herdecke focusing on the teeth-cleaning habits of the German general public published in September 2012 revealed that only 11 per cent of the public actually use dental floss, despite recommendations that every person should use 180 metre of dental floss per year. As such, only one-and-a-half metre per year is actually used.

Small brushes with a big impact

Cleaning the difficult-to-access interdental cavities and the gingival cuff often tips the scales in the balance between a healthy mouth or problems according to Alexandra Rabeler, Sales Manager Professional, » TePe Mundhygieneprodukte Vertriebs-GmbH. As such, she recommends that patients who lack the necessary dexterity for using dental floss or who have large dental cavities should use interdental cavity brushes. "Interdental cavity brushes fill the entire gap, reaching areas which otherwise cannot be accessed," thus Rabeler. "Correct oral hygiene requires the correct brush size in order to achieve the desired cleaning effect, and to avoid injury of the gums. The brush must be big enough to fill the cavity completely, but not so large that it requires force during its insertion. Only then will it fulfill its purpose."

Implants also require maintenance

It is not just natural teeth which need cleaning - the long-term retention of implants also requires that they be cleaned regularly. "Given good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups, dental implants can last a lifetime," thus Alexandra Rabeler. "Patients with implants should ensure that they avoid plaque build-up on an implant so as to prevent peri-implant infections and loss of the implant." The use of special oral hygiene resources is important to ensure that inaccessible areas are cleaned.

Plaque doesn't just damage teeth

Roland Frankenberger, manager of the department for conservative dentistry at the University of Marburg and President of the German Association of Conservative Dentistry (Deutschen Gesellschaft für Zahnerhaltungskunde) since 2012 always returns to the necessity of plaque removal in his specialist lectures. As he says, "always remember: TTI: The Teeth, Tongue and Interdental space." One thing is clear: insufficient hygiene is not just damaging for the teeth and gums; should bacteria from inflamed gums enter your blood stream, you can damage your heart. As Howard Jenkinson from the University of Bristol reports, "bleeding gums provide dental bacteria with access to the blood circulation, where they can cause a clot, which can affect the heart." Failure to remove plaque by brushing and flossing risks not only the inflammation of the gums, but further serious illnesses.

Published by: rf/tk 04/16
Inter-dental brushes are easy in application; their availability in different sizes mean that they fit in almost all interdental spaces

Inter-dental brushes are easy in application; their availability in different sizes mean that they fit in almost all interdental spaces

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