April is National Oral Health Month in Canada, a time to think about that hard working but often overlooked part of your anatomy – your mouth. Dentists know only too well how important it is to develop good oral health habits early in life. You only have one mouth and one set of teeth, yet for many people their oral health does not warrant the same level of attention devoted to other parts of their body.
Think about it, if your back was sore, or you couldn’t sleep because of a bad headache you wouldn’t hesitate to go to the doctor. But somehow if you have issues with your mouth those matters get shrugged off, or are simply ignored. Improper oral health care can lead to any number of potential problems, some of them life threatening. If you have missing teeth, mouth and/or gum infections or dental pain your entire quality of life can be affected. Mouth-centric health issues can affect how you speak, or eat, or sleep. These in turn can impact how you interact with others socially in the workplace or classroom.
Another real area of concern is oral cancer. The Canadian Dental Association reports that each year more than 3,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with some form of oral cancer. In addition, of those already diagnosed more than 1,000 will die annually as a direct result of this treatable but potentially deadly disease. One of the reasons this form of cancer has such a low survival rate is that it is often diagnosed too late to be effectively treated.
The computer maxim states: Garbage in, garbage out. This same rule could also apply to oral health as everything that affects your mouth affects the rest of your body. If you don’t look after your mouth all aspects of your physical wellbeing can be affected.
One of the simplest and best ways to maintain good oral health is by keeping your mouth clean. The regular brushing of your teeth and tongue (with a soft brush) can dramatically reduce its bacteria count, which in turn is directly related to the development of diseases and other oral issues. Dentists recommend waiting at least half an hour after eating before brushing your teeth to have the maximum affect.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is another way to help keep your mouth, and the rest of you in top form. Part of this effort involves making a concerted effort to reduce the intake of sweet snacks and beverages. Healthy snacks would include such things as non-acidic fruits, cheese or nuts.
For more than dentally-motivated reasons tobacco products should always be avoided. Not only does smoking yellow your teeth and negatively affect your breath, tobacco is of course linked to any number of cancers, heart diseases and a host of other physical ailments.
Naturally an essential part of any effective oral health campaign has to include regular visits to your family dentist. Statistics released by the Canadian Dental Association show that nearly half of all Canadians have not visited their dentist during the past year. The simple matter is that regular dental exams, coupled with professional cleaning, are considered to be one of the best ways to prevent problems from occurring, and for spotting problems before they become too serious.
So especially during April, give some thoughts to that hard working but often easily forgotten part of your body, your mouth. It works hard for you, but has to be maintained like every other part of you to function at its best.Leave a reply →