An increasing number of Australians are using a fluoride toothpaste, as the federal government is reviewing the benefits of the chemical.
Key points:A national survey of more than 1,200 Australians found tooth pain is a significant problemThe survey also found some people don’t want to use fluoride, but some are still taking the drugThe Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has launched an online survey to assess the effectiveness of fluoride toothpastes.
Key facts:The online survey is being conducted by the ABS, and will provide data on tooth pain and how it affects peopleThe ABS has launched a national tooth pain survey which will provide more insight into the prevalence of tooth pain in Australia.
The survey was launched this week, and is being administered by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and the National Research Council (NRC).
More than one in four people aged 15 to 64 in the country reported they have tooth pain.
About 1.5 per cent of those surveyed also reported pain in their mouth.
The ABS conducted the survey in late January and early February, with more than 700 respondents in the first week of February.
Dr David Smith, head of dental health at the AIB, said there was a clear correlation between tooth pain symptoms and toothbrush use.
“People who are tooth pain sufferers are taking more toothbrushes, but they are not necessarily using the same type of toothbrush as they are using for other reasons,” he said.
“This means they are still using a toothbrush that’s less effective than the type that they used before.”
Dr Smith said some people didn’t want or need to use a fluoride dental product, and could still choose to do so.
“The fact that they don’t like fluoride, the fact that it’s not as safe, doesn’t mean that they’re not using it,” he explained.
“But they’re doing it in a different way.”
The survey will provide insights into the reasons people are taking the chemical, and how they’re using it.
The online study will also collect data on dental pain, the effects of fluoride, and the potential for fluoride to be harmful to people.
The results of the survey will be presented at the Australian Dental Association’s annual meeting on Tuesday.
Dr Smith says the ABS is aware of the challenges in making dentistry safe, and has set out a number of measures to tackle the problem.
He said the survey could provide a much more comprehensive picture than the traditional dental questionnaire, which provides a limited amount of information.
“There’s a lot more data available for dental care, which can help you make an informed decision on which products you’re using and when you’re choosing them,” he says.
“It’s going to give us much more insight than the old-fashioned dental questionnaire.”
Dr Stephen Henson, president of the Australian Dentists Association, said some of the problems with fluoride toothbrushing, and dental pain in general, were linked to dental fluoridation.
“A lot of people are using toothbrushed toothpaste,” Dr Henson said.
“And when you use it and you get this pain, it is very common.”
“It can be very difficult to understand why you’re doing this and it’s also difficult to explain that to your dentist.”
Dr Henson says there are several factors that contribute to tooth pain among dentists.
“If you’re brushing your teeth, you are brushing your tooth,” he added.
“And if you’re not brushing your mouth, you’re really brushing your gum, and your toothbrush is actually making the saliva flow.”
Dr David Stott, a dentist in Melbourne’s east, says the survey is important because he knows people with tooth pain don’t necessarily want to get fluoride toothbrush.
“They may not like the toothbrush, or they may not think that it is safe,” he told 7.30.
Dr Stott says tooth pain may be linked to the use of a fluoride-containing toothpaste.
“Some people may have had dental problems before,” he pointed out.
“For some people it’s a normal reaction to a dental condition.
But some people, they may have suffered a dental injury.”
So it may be an early symptom of a serious condition, or a mild condition that you’re just starting to realise.
“Dr Stett also points out that some people might also be taking a chemical for dental reasons.”
I think it’s really important that we have a conversation about what’s happening to us and what the science is showing about this, so we can come up with solutions to make our dental care more effective,” he suggested.”
Dental problems are often linked to other health problems and to chronic conditions, so it’s important to have a discussion about the relationship between toothbrush and dental health.
“The ABS is not calling for a ban on fluoride tooth products, but it is urging people to be aware of its potential effects.”
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