With this week marking Dental Health Week, the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service oral health team are continuing to promote the “love your teeth” message to encourage people to consider their oral health.
Over the last 12 months WBHHS maintained its excellence in seeing patients requiring general dental appointments within their clinically recommended waiting time and significantly reduced the denture waiting list.
While WBHHS Oral Health Director Lisa Maddison praised the work of the oral health team in providing care and support to local patients, she encouraged people to take proactive steps in their own lives to love their teeth.
“Thanks to the outstanding efforts of our oral health staff, our WBHHS denture waiting list has reduced from 2242 patients in July 2021 to 908 in in June 2022 – which is a 60 per cent reduction in the number of people needing dentures,” Ms Maddison said.
“On top of that, in the same 12 month period our oral health team maintained excellence in treating general dental patients within their clinically-recommended waiting time – seeing every one of their patients within that timeframe as they have continually done for two-and-a-half years.
“These are really important steps that our oral health team is taking to fight what is one of the biggest chronic health issues in Australia and during Dental Health Week we’re asking people to ‘love your teeth' and actively take their own steps to prevent tooth decay and later dental issues.”
WBHHS oral health therapist and team leader of the school dental service Sharyn Mitchell is one of the clinicians on the ground who is promoting the “love your teeth” message.
“Our campaign this year focuses on the importance of taking four particular steps to show some love for your teeth and gums,” Ms Mitchell said.
“Those steps are to take your teeth on a date to the dentist, love your teeth by brushing twice a day, treat your teeth to healthy food and drink, and spoil your teeth by cleaning them daily.”
While the “love your teeth” message has a fun theme, Ms Mitchell said there was a much more serious health concern behind it.
“It shouldn’t be considered normal to have teeth removed because of tooth decay or gum disease,” Ms Mitchell said.
“By continually promoting good oral hygiene, people can expect to keep their teeth for a lifetime.”
A number of local school students will also learn about the importance of oral health as part of the week.
“The schools will be supporting Dental Health Week through theatrical storytelling with props by members of our visiting WBHHS oral health staff – which is basically one of us being silly and having fun while encouraging kids to care for their teeth,” Ms Mitchell said.
In 2021, the Australian Dental Association created Teeth.org.au, a one-stop-shop website that provides up-to-date and easy to read oral health information.
To find more Queensland Health resources about Dental Health Week visit: https://clinicalexcellence.qld.gov.au/campaigns/dental-health-week/.
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