Oral health improves via education

Oral health improves via education
Deploying dental hygienists for basic preventative care, such as applying topical fluoride varnish, has also proven successful and cost-effective. Credit: US Army Africa

Better integration with primary health care, community outreach programs and culturally appropriate family and community programs could improve Indigenous dental health in Western Australia, research suggests.

The findings come from a University of Western Australia-led review examining approaches to Indigenous oral health worldwide, including New Zealand, Canada and the United States.

Professor Linda Slack-Smith says dental health improvements are vital.

"Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suffer two to three times the rate of untreated [cavities] than non-Aboriginal people," she says.

"Preventative interventions are especially important in the first year of life.

"Early childhood caries (ECC) have been shown to have serious consequences for hospitalisation rates, schooling, nutrition, growth and development, quality of life and long-term disease in permanent teeth."

At a treatment level, training dental students in Indigenous communities as part of outreach programs have shown positive outcomes in New Zealand and North America as there is a mutual understanding of cultures and behaviours.

Deploying dental hygienists for basic preventative care, such as applying topical fluoride varnish, has also proven successful and cost-effective.

Education has had a positive impact, both in schools and the community, which researchers suggest could be best accomplished by integrating oral and .

Past traditions could enhance experience

They say another positive outcome could be employing Aboriginal healthcare workers to ensure culturally appropriate care, which could be enhanced by incorporating past customs and traditions into dental care.

"Historical data show that Indigenous populations generally had good ," Prof Slack-Smith says.

"Many traditional methods have been accepted and explained scientifically.

"Chewing sticks from a range of native tree species are used by many Indigenous communities around the world and have been shown to be effective to varying degrees."

The most notable is mustard tree (Salvadora persica), used throughout Africa, whose antimicrobial and anti-caries effects have been acknowledged by the World Health Organisation.

Similarly, the Noongar people traditionally used the antiseptic resin of red gum (Corymbia calophylla) for treating gum infections and numbing discomfort.

However, not all traditional dental practices are deemed safe such as the African practice of crushing up stinging ants and placing it on an aching tooth for one week, after which the tooth can be pulled out by hand.

The researchers say these initiatives could improve but the only way to create long-lasting change is addressing social inequalities, such as poverty and lack of adequate housing.

Explore further

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More information: "International approaches to Indigenous dental care: what can we learn?" Aust Dent J. 2014 Aug 27. DOI: 10.1111/adj.12219. [Epub ahead of print]
Provided by Science Network WA
Citation: Oral health improves via education (2014, November 25) retrieved 16 July 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-11-oral-health.html
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Dec 01, 2014
You know they say 'a sound mind in a sound body' and I totally agree with this saying. It's very good that dental health will be improved. You see it's hard to be concentrated on work or education when you have toothache or dental issue. By the way, here is http://myessaywri...ine.com/ a reliable writing service that provides with all necessary material about essay writing. Quality paper writing is definitely the hardest college assignment every student has to do. The student has to be a master of excellent writing skills, know everything about academic rules, reliable recourses for graduate level essay writing and has to write a paper before deadline.

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