General oral health

Understanding how your Oral Health effects your overall health and well-being.

What is General Oral Health?

General Oral health is the overall well-being of your mouth, and when you think about it – your life. The mouth is the beginning of the digestive tract (gut). We meet the world with our mouths. It keeps us alive through breathing, drinking, and eating. It helps express our unique identity.

Oral health seeks to maintain well-being through a healthy lifestyle, whilst identifying and managing a complex range of diseases and conditions. The common ones include dental caries, periodontal (gum disease), and tooth wear. Less common are congenital conditions, cancers, and your general bodily health and even your psychological well-being is impacted by and can affect the mouth. Oral health is a marker for your body’s overall health and well-being.

Maintaining your oral health is integral to having a happy smile and strong teeth that will last your lifetime, including helping to minimise oral and general health risks. The key factors in maintaining a healthy mouth include;

General Oral Health
information

Sustaining a healthy and balanced diet, try to minimise the number of foods consumed with added sugars and refined carbohydrates (processed foods such as biscuits).

Lifestyle choices (smoking, drinking, stress, active levels).

Brush your teeth twice per day.

Interdental (flossing and specialised toothpicks) cleaning at least once per day

Regular check-ups with your dentist.

Good & Bad Bacteria

The mouth’s biome is the name given to the germs that live in our mouths. It is a whole ecology system – much like our living planet, but in miniature.

The oral biome (white creamy slimes that grow on our gums and teeth) consists of many hundreds of different types of bacteria. There are good bacteria called commensal organisms and they actually help protect us. There are also toxic bacteria that are responsible for the development of decay (dental caries) and gum diseases (periodontitis). Left alone the toxic bacteria harness the good bacteria and invade our bodies by rotting our teeth and burrowing into our gums. It is up to us to tend this (garden of germs) by constantly weeding out the overgrowth by maintaining good oral hygiene practices.

Dental Caries (Cavities or Decay)

Dental caries are caused by the build-up of bacterial plaque (a growth of bad bacteria) they secrete acids that dissolve the enamel of our teeth. When we eat something sweet like a piece of cake – that is actually food for these bacteria and we are simply promoting their growth. When we drink a cordial or soft drink – they are acidic and dissolve the enamel and speed the decay process. Dental caries can be prevented if detected early enough.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums (gingivae). Bleeding of the gums can be a clear sign of this, as well as increased redness and swelling. Once again, it takes toxic bacteria to soften our gums and burrow beneath. They do not like oxygen and that is why we might even notice a rotting flesh odour. A human instinct is to avoid touching bleeding gums because we think we are promoting the bleeding. This actually leaves the toxic germs alone to keep festering away.

Periodontitis (Gum Disease)

If gingivitis is untreated, it can advance into periodontitis, a chronic inflammatory disease that eventually loosens teeth, which can become painful to chew on and even drop out of our mouths. The bone supporting the teeth dissolves. Our immune system tries to help, and this varies from person to person. Part of our body’s response to periodontal disease is sending inflammatory substances throughout the body affecting your overall health.

For more information on healthy oral hygiene practices, read;

Brushing Teeth and Oral Hygiene Practices.

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Oral Systemic Health

Understanding how your Oral Health effects your overall health and well-being.

What is Oral Systemic Health?

Oral systemic health is the relationship between the mouth’s health and the body’s overall health. Recent and continued research indicates how periodontal disease can increase the risk of other systemic health concerns, like heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and pregnancy or premature birth.

Heart Disease & Strokes

Periodontitis can increase the risk of heart disease and strokes. The toxic bacteria that burrow into our gums enter our bloodstream and attach themselves to fatty acids that build up inside arteries. The body’s inflammatory response (this forms part of our immune system that tries to fight and heal disease) increases the production of substances called C-Reactive proteins, which are associated with blood clots. Research is still happening to try to understand what the link is and how significant it is. Maintaining a healthy oral biome may lower the risks of heart disease and stroke.

Respiratory Disease

Periodontal disease can increase the risk of respiratory infection; bacteria from the mouth have the potential to be inhaled directly through the airways into the lungs. Research indicates pneumonia is more common in patients with periodontal disease.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis, like periodontitis, is an inflammatory disease, both systemic issues that affect the body’s inflammatory and immune system. The body’s response to inflammatory disease is an overproduction of substances called cytokines and enzymes that impair the body’s immune system in fighting the diseases. Symptoms of inflammatory responses are swelling, pain, heat, and loss of function.

Diabetes

Diabetes’ relationship with periodontal disease is considered a two-way street. Research indicates diabetic patients with poorly controlled diabetes have an increased risk of periodontal disease compared to diabetic patients with well-controlled diabetes. Studies demonstrate diabetic patients who suffer from periodontitis are more likely to have poor glycemic control, indicating that periodontitis can influence a patient’s control of their diabetes.

Oral Health Oral Systemic Health

Pregnancy & Premature Birth

Pregnancy can increase the risk of periodontal disease. During pregnancy, the body’s hormone levels increase, specifically oestrogen and progesterone. These hormones are related to the body’s immune response and can intensify the build-up of plaque in your mouth. More research into periodontal disease and its possible increased risks on pregnancy is required. It is recommended to receive a periodontal assessment from a professional at the beginning of pregnancy to ensure good oral health will continue throughout the pregnancy.

To make an enquiry or book and appointment, please call the practice.

Oral Health FAQ

Commonly asked questions regarding dental and oral health.

Why are regular dental check-ups important?

Your dentist will recognise the early signs of tooth decay or gum disease. Being pro-active allows for preventive and less costly treatments to be implemented. Importantly, regular oral health checks ensure you feel confident in knowing you are maintaining good oral hygiene practices.

Why are professional dental cleans important?

Professional dental cleans will assist in removing plaque in hard-to-reach places. This will especially help combat the build-up of bad bacteria and improve bad breath.

Why are my teeth sensitive?

There are a varied number of reasons your teeth might feel sensitive. Teeth can be sensitive due to, over-brushing with hard bristled brushes, tooth decay, grinding, chipped or cracked teeth, acidic foods and drinks that eat away at the enamel lining of your teeth, or gum disease to name a few. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis from your dentist so the correct treatment can be applied.

Why are my gums bleeding?

Bleeding on the gum is a symptom of gum disease. It is generally present in the early stages of the disease known as gingivitis.

When should my child visit the dentist?

Your child’s first dental check-up should be when their first tooth starts to push through the gums or between 9 and 12 months old.

Why are Dental X-rays so important and how often should I get them?

Dental X-rays help your dentist establish a baseline for your teeth to ensure they align and grow straight as well as for structural integrity. X-rays will also help diagnose dental caries and other oral health concerns that may not be obvious to the naked eye. Your dentist should take an X-ray every 6 – 12 months.

Can my medication interfere with my dental treatments or oral health?

It is important you are honest with your dentist about any medication you may be taking as some medications can impact your oral health and subsequently dental treatments may be required to be deferred for your safety.

There are some dental problems that can be due to your genetics, like misaligned jaws or crooked teeth. Though largely most oral health issues like tooth decay and gum disease are almost entirely due to oral hygiene and lifestyle choices.

What should I do if my tooth is knocked out or broken?

If possible locate the knocked out or broken tooth. Avoid touching the roots and pick up the tooth by the crown of the tooth (the part visible in our mouths) rinse the tooth in water before placing a container with milk. Seek emergency dental care.

My face is swollen? what should I do?

Most commonly face swelling is due to a dental or skin infection or an allergic reaction like anaphylaxis. If there is swelling in your gums or around your mouth or face seek emergency dental care as soon as possible. A swollen face can be due to a tooth infection, gum disease, or trauma to the mouth or jaw bone

What is Gum disease and how can I prevent it?

Gum disease (Periodontitis) is a chronic disease that affects your overall oral health. Starting out as gingivitis due to a poor balance of healthy bacteria in your mouth. Bad bacteria build up into clusters of plaque. This plaque will eat away at soft tissue and bone, if left untreated this will advance into chronic periodontitis. which is treatable but any damage incurred can no be repaired.

Will I experience pain after a tooth extraction or other restorative work

It is possible you will experience some discomfort and pain after a tooth extraction or other restorative work. In most cases, any pain or discomfort should dissipate within a few days if not hours. If any pain still exists after this period or your condition deteriorates. see your dentist as soon as possible.

Why do I wake up with a sore jaw?

Many of us clench or grind our teeth during the night as we sleep. Generally related to stress there are a number of treatments that can be beneficial and reduce the amount you clench or grind.

Why is flossing so Important?

Flossing enables us to clean areas of the teeth that brushes simply wont reach, it will help remove rooting foods and the build-up of plaque. Flossing will help reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

How Do I prevent tooth decay?

Preventing tooth decay is a combination of good lifestyle choices (eating a healthy balanced diet; foods that contain small amounts of sugars and acids) whilst maintaining good oral hygiene practices, which include regular dental visits.

How do I choose the right toothpaste?

Choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride. For young children under the age of 6 choose a child-grade fluoride. Talk to your dentist before trying any teeth whitening toothpastes.

Should I get a custom dental mouth guard vs an over the-counter mouth guard?

mouth guards designed to fit your unique mouth offer better protection than over-the-counter mouth guards. They cover more surface area of the teeth whilst maintaining a firmer fit. this also allows for the mouth guard to be more streamlined which allows for better communication with your teammate.

I have diabetes why is my dentist worried?

People with diabetes are at a higher risk of gum disease (periodontitis) this is due to lifestyle choices as well as the impact both diseases have on the bodies inflammatory system.

How does pregnancy affect my oral health and does my oral health affect my pregnancy?

During pregnancy, the increased diet and cravings can impact your oral health if your oral hygiene is not adjusted accordingly. It is important to inform your dentist as some dental treatments will need to be deferred during pregnancy.

What is plaque and why is it bad?

Plaque is the build up of bad bacteria. It forms in clusters in the nooks and cranny’s or our teeth. It is a white sticky substance that will eat away at your enamel lining of your teeth

How to encourage my kids to brush their teeth?

Playing music and games around brushing teeth helps make it fun. brushing as a family also helps encourage regular brushing. Confidence is important for children and brushing their teeth always encourage their efforts with positive feedback.

What are dental sealants and why are they recommended for children’s teeth?

Your dentist will recognise the early signs of tooth decay or gum disease. Being pro-active allows for preventive and less costly treatments to be implemented. Regular oral health checks also ensure you feel confident in knowing you are maintaining good oral hygiene practices.

Why Fluoride is important for you oral health?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral. The enamel lining of teeth absorbs the fluoride to replenish lost minerals which helps fight the early stages of tooth decay.

What is a root canal and why do I need one?

A root canal is performed when there is diseased tissue inside the canals of the tooth. This is done to save the tooth from being removed completely. The dentist creates an opening in the top or back of the tooth to create access to the canal. The canal is cleaned out and a filler and sealant are used to fill the hole.

Your Local Camberwell Family Dentist

Oral Health Links

Verified & reliable oral health resources.

ADAVB | Australian Dental Association Victoria Branch

Has valuable information regarding dental health. Look under for the public and news & advocacy- dental issues, or your oral health.

EviDENT | EviDent Foundation

The EviDent Foundation is a charity based organisation promoting dental health and supporting Australia’s only Dental Practice Based Research Network (DPBRN).

Choice | Independent consumer product reviews

Choice Magazine provides independent reviews and advice on consumer products. Search snack food or sweet treats.

PFA | Pierre Fauchard Academy

An International Honorary Dental Organisation.

RCH | Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne

Information and facts sheets in regards to child dental care from The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, caring for our children’s health for 150 years.

time2switch | Health Fund Information & Comparison

The aim of the Time2Switch campaign is to create a more workable balance between the dentists, our patients and the health funds. The website has tools to help you compare policies, advice on choose a policy or making a complaint.

AAP | American Academy of Periodontology

The American Academy of Periodontology explains the progression of gum disease and other gum related conditions including dental procedures related to gum health.

Fair Health Care Alliance | Compare Health Insurance

20 years of combined experience comparing health funds.

FDi | World Dental Federation

The FDi are a global voice for dental professionals. Sharing the latest news and knowledge as well as promoting best practices for oral health specifically in regards to your overall systemic health.

ACH | Academy of Communication in Health Care

The Academy of Communication (ACH) has been on the frontlines for 40 years in research and teaching relationship-centered health care communications.

ADA | Australian Dental Association

The Dental Industries peak national professional body, The Australian Dental Association has three prime objectives; to support members by improving their ability to provide high quality and safe professional oral health care, encouraging improvement in the oral and general health of the public & promoting high quality ethics and the art and science of dentistry.

Better Health | The Better Health Channel

Better Health Channel has sections on diet and nutrition. Search under conditions and treatment- By body parts or systems – Teeth.

The D3 Group | Online Education Resource

The D3 Group is dedicated to the better understanding and care of people with Developmental Dental Defects.

ADI | Academy of Dentistry International

Honour Society for science and global oral health.

Teeth | Oral Health Information Website – ADA

Created by the Australian Dental Association, teeth.org.au is an evidence based information website, helping people educate themselves with the latest and updated news and oral health information.

Caring for Kids Teeth | Australian Dental Association

Has hints and tips to give children happy and healthy smiles.

ICD | International College of Dentists

An Internationally recognised honorary body for the worlds leading dentists, since 1920.

FDi | World Dental Federation – Whole body Health

The FDi are a global voice for dental professionals. Whole body health – A project dedicated to promoting and increasing awareness about oral health and its relationship with the body’s overall health and well-being.

ASO | Australian Society of Orthodontists

The Australian Society of Orthodontists provide factual information about orthodontic treatments and have no financial interest in any orthodontic companies or treatments.

To make an enquiry or book and appointment, please call the practice.

RESOURCES

Experienced and professional oral health resources.

A Guide To Your Oral & Dental Health

‘A Guide to your Oral & Dental Health is provided as a community service dedicated to helping you improve your dental and oral health. I include general information on your dental and oral health journey; and guide you – as this forms part of the rich information sources already available, and helps improve your knowledge, as you create the wisdom to best care for yourself.’

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Current Oral Health Articles & News

Read Dr Bob’s Articles and News updates, for professionally researched and verifiable information regarding oral health.

World Oral Health Day 2024

World Oral Health Day 2024

New Campaign Championed by the FDI World Dental Federation Toothie the Beaver is promoting “A Happy Mouth is… a Happy Body” for World Oral Health…

Read More

Your Local Camberwell Family Dentist

How TO FIND US

Conveniently located dental practice close to Camberwell Junction.

681 Burke Road, Camberwell, Victoria, 3124

03 9882 3366

[email protected]

Camberwell Dental Associates

Opening Hours

Monday – Friday | 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Saturday | By Appointment Only

Sunday & Public Holidays | Closed

***Wheel chair access available***

Parking & Public Transport

Parking on Campbell Rd is available and limited to 2 hours, whilst parking on Burke Rd is metered. For longer appointments all day parking is available within a 5-10 min walk  at the Well or Woolworths car park.

We are easily accessible by public transport.

Camberwell Train station is a 10min walk from the practice.

Tram 70, 75 & 72 all stop at Camberwell Junction with only a 3min walk

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