April is National Oral Health Month

By Alderwood Family Dentistry March 30, 2017

We all know that the mouth is part of the body, but we often think of it as something separate.
We often ignore bleeding or tender gums, while an irritation or pain elsewhere in the body would mean a trip to the doctor.

Poor dental health can affect a person’s quality of life. Oral pain, missing teeth and oral infections can influence the way a person speaks, eats and socializes. Not only that but if there is infection in the mouth our body is constantly trying to fight it which leaves our immune system compromised. In other words oral health problems can and will reduce a person’s quality of life and will affect their physical, mental and social well-being.

The truth is that oral health problems could be a sign of something serious such as oral cancer. We take dentistry as an elective treatment but it is not. Dentistry and regular attentive care is more important now than ever before. We read the studies every year and approximately 3,200 Canadians are diagnosed with oral cancer and 1,050 deaths from oral cancer occur. This devastating disease has a very low survival rate because it generally diagnosed late. People do not associate cancer with dentistry and that is mind boggling. Just so that we put things in perspective with early detection the survival rate of oral cancer can be greatly improved. This means going to your dentist for regular dental exams. Your dentist has the training and experience to detect oral cancer early. A few dental offices as well have some new diagnostic technology called the VelScope. This new technology equipment helps diagnose tissue abnormalities in the mouth before they can be seen by the naked eye.

I cannot stress enough that everything that happens in your mouth affects your whole body, which is why it is so important to visit your dentist regularly. Only your dentist has the training, skills and expertise to properly address all your oral health care needs. Getting regular dental exams and check up’s will help prevent small problems from getting worse and costing more.

For a healthy lifestyle and to help reduce the risk of oral disease, follow Canadian Dental Association’s 5 steps to good oral health.

Oral Health Activities and Resources

1. Keep your mouth clean

Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
Wait at least 20–30 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth.
Floss every day.
Eat a well-balanced diet.
Limit foods and beverages containing sugar or carbohydrates.
Ideal snack foods: cheese, nuts, vegetables, and non-acidic fruits.
Look for oral care products with the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) Seal.

2. Check your mouth regularly

Look for signs of gum disease:

Red, shiny, puffy, sore or sensitive gums
Bleeding when you brush or floss
Bad breath that won’t go away
Look for signs of oral cancer:

Bleeding or open sores that don’t heal
White or red patches
Numbness or tingling
Small lumps and thickening on the sides or bottom of your tongue, the floor or roof of your mouth, the inside of your cheeks, or on your gums

3. Eat well

Good nutrition helps build strong teeth and gums.
Munch on mouthhealthy snacks like cheeses, nuts, vegetables, and non-acidic fruits.

4. See your dentist regularly

48% of Canadians who haven’t seen a dentist in the past year have gum disease. Regular dental exams and professional cleanings are the best way to prevent and detect problems before they get worse.

5. Don’t smoke or chew tobacco

Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause oral cancer, heart disease, gum disease, and a variety of other cancers.

Fact Sheet and Posterstoothberg_poster_e

CDA has created a series of fact sheets and posters to promote the importance of good oral health.

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