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Province fosters oral hygiene

Western Cape Government Health treated 113 476 patients at oral health centres (primary, secondary and tertiary) during 2017/’18.

Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important for your overall well-being.

Daily preventative care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop problems before they develop and is much less painful, expensive, and worrisome than treating conditions that have been allowed to progress.

In between regular visits to the dentist there are simple steps each of us can take to decrease the risk if developing tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems greatly.

These include:

. brushing thoroughly twice a day and flossing daily

. eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks between meals

. using dental products that contain fluoride, including toothpaste.

As a parent you also have the responsibility to take care of your children’s teeth.

“It is really concerning to see the high incidence of tooth decay, especially in children,” says dentist Lindy Pool. “This can be avoided so easily by brushing the teeth every morning and every evening. Also eating less of the unhealthy food types. Parents need to take responsibility for their children’s teeth and ensure that good habits are introduced at a young age.”

Dental decay can lead to dental abscesses and pain, which negatively affects children’s ability to learn and concentrate at school. It can also cause absence from school.

An oral hygienist visits schools, pre-schools, day-care and other facilities for dental screenings, educational and preventative programs.

Other oral health services offered by the Western Cape Government Health include:

. Oral examinations

. Scale and polish (cleaning teeth and gums)

. Treatment of pain and sepsis (draining of abscess, antibiotic prescription, etc.)

. Dental X-rays (bitewings) as aid to diagnosis

. Extractions

. Basic fillings (one to four surfaces)

. Prevention (education, brushing, fissure sealants, fluoride)

For more information about dental services in your area, contact your local clinic.

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