About Dental Health Week

Dental Health Week (DHW) is the Australian Dental Association’s (ADA)’s major annual oral health campaign. It takes place each year in the first full week of August and this year DHW will be August 3 – 9. The ADA and this campaign aim to educate Australians about the importance of maintaining good oral health by promoting four key messages:
•    Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
•    Clean between your teeth daily using floss or interdental brushes.
•    Eat a healthy, balanced diet and limit sugar intake.
•    Visit the dentist regularly for check-ups and preventive care.

The focus of this year’s campaign is on the harm sugar does to oral health, aiming to help Australians to ‘get sugar savvy’. The campaign includes recommended daily sugar consumption levels, advice on reading food labels, and spells out the effect sugar has on our teeth.  This information is reinforced with three main sugar messages:
•    Consume no more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams) of free sugar per day as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
•    Choose foods with less than 10 grams of sugar per 100 grams.
•    Look out for hidden sugars when purchasing foods and drinks.
These important messages will be reinforced via the tagline: ‘How much sugar is hiding is your trolley?’, which draws on the concept of hidden sugars and reading food labels in order to make healthy choices. Making healthy choices at the supermarket extends to making similar smart food and drink choices at home. Saying ‘no’ to an unhealthy item in the supermarket means you don’t have to continue to say ‘no’ at home.  
Tempting as it is to think that everyone is practicing good oral health, the reality is that the oral health of many Australians is not where it should be.
•     Less than 50% of Australians adults have had a dental check-up in the last 12 months. 
•     53% of Australians brush their teeth only once-a-day.
•     Nearly 40% never floss or clean between their teeth.
•     73% of young people (14-18 years) are consuming too much sugar.
•     47% of adults (18+ years) are consuming too much sugar.
More statistics on the oral health of Australian children and adults can be found in Australia’s Oral Health Tracker.

There are multiple ways to access sugar information as part of Dental Health Week this year. A visit to your dentist is great for face-to-face advice where your questions can be answered. If you don’t have a regular dentist, check out the ADA’s Find A Dentist site to locate one nearby. Additionally, written and audio content is available by exploring the Dental Health Week website as well as the ADA’s Your Dental Health webpage.