The real cost of sugar on your teeth
NORTHERN Rivers are being urged to steer clear from sugar and refined sugar due to the drastic impacts it can have on their teeth.
The latest data by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows hundreds residents on the Far North Coast are hospitalised with dental conditions each year.
Lismore dentist Doctor Brendan White said oral health conditions can have wide reaching impacts.
"Sugar is one of the major reasons of dental decay … and they tend to have poor oral health as a result.
"The first thing is the effects on your mouth, you can have trouble eating, it effects how you feel about yourself because it's quite unsightly having decayed teeth … people can have trouble speaking because of having missing teeth."
There is a growing concern this may have been exacerbated by COVID-19 after a study by Monash University found almost half of 18-29 year old Australians are feeling depressed or anxious as a result of the pandemic.
Further data from the Journal of Health Psychology shows people are turning to sugary treats during periods of stress - treats which can have a disastrous effect on your teeth.
Dr White said when a person experiences pain as a result of these diseases it's often too late.
"Decay doesn't tend to happen in a hurry and neither does gum disease but both can happen over a number of years when you get to the point of having pain it's too late."
However, the solution to many people's oral health issues lies in regular maintenance.
"Good oral hygiene is a big part of it, that means brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste, drinking water and those things with a good diet will slow your decay rate significantly."
Dental health week is on from August 3 to August 9 and the Australian Dental Association is encouraging all Northern Rivers residents to practice good oral health.