Muswellbrook residents encouraged to minimise sugary treats during coronavirus pandemic

Australian Dental Association NSW president Dr Kathleen Matthews
Australian Dental Association NSW president Dr Kathleen Matthews

CAKES, biscuits and chocolate are easy solutions to the coronavirus (COVID-19) blues.

But, Muswellbrook residents are urged to minimise sugary treats and protect their teeth during the ongoing pandemic.

"Across the Upper Hunter region there were dozens of potentially preventable hospitalisations for dental conditions in 2017-18, which illustrates what can happen when oral health deteriorates," Australian Dental Association NSW (ADA NSW) president Dr Kathleen Matthews said.

"Research has shown that people turn to sugary treats during periods of stress.

"It's understandable - but too many of these treats can wreck your oral health.

"Latest NSW Health data shows more than 90,000 adults in NSW are waiting for public dental treatment and there were almost 20,000 potentially preventable hospitalisations in the state in 2017-18 due to dental conditions.

"Neglecting your teeth can cost you time, pain and expense.

"With oral health a key part of overall well-being, ADA NSW is urging everyone in the region to cut back on sugary treats and help look after their oral and overall health."

A recent Monash University study showed that almost half of Australians aged 18-29 are feeling depressed or anxious in the current situation.

Studies have shown people turn to sugary treats during periods of stress to boost mood, but spikes in blood sugar levels encourage a cycle of snacking that can be difficult to break.

"We all enjoy an occasional treat, but habits can become hard to break and too many treats can really impact on your teeth," Dr Matthews said.

"The recent Australian Oral Health Tracker showed 1 in 3 adults aged 15 and older have untreated tooth decay and about 1 in 2 Australian adults consume too much free sugar.

"Fruit and vegetables are a great way to satisfy hunger cravings and there are low-sugar alternatives to sweets and cakes.

"With this year's Dental Health Week running until August 9, it's a great time to consider how to eat more healthily."

ADA NSW also reminds patients it is safe to visit their dentists for check-ups and treatments during the pandemic.

"Australian dentists have among the highest standards of infection control in the world," Dr Matthews said.

"Infection control processes are part of every dentist's daily remit.

"All dental treatments, including check-ups, orthodontics and fillings are being offered now along with additional patient screening and social distancing in waiting rooms."