April is National Oral Health month and the Canadian Dental Association is spreading the message that oral health is about more than just teeth and gums.
Research shows there is a relationship between oral disease and other health problems such as diabetes and certain kinds of pneumonia. There may even be a link between oral diseases and heart disease and stroke, as well as premature and low birth-weight babies.
Our mouths are part of our bodies, not something separate. So it makes sense to care for our mouths the way we care for our bodies. Not only will our bodies thank us, the health care system will as well.
The more we care for our mouths, the less chance we have of burdening the health care system.
Five steps to good oral health
Put a smile in your body. Follow these simple steps to good oral health and watch your overall health improve, too:
1. See your dentist regularly
2. Keep your mouth clean
3. Eat a well-balanced diet
4. Check your mouth regularly for signs of gum disease and oral cancer
5. Avoid all tobacco products More Canadians suffering from dental erosion
Canadian dentists are seeing more and more patients with dental erosion.
Dental erosion occurs when the hard part of the tooth wears away from direct contact with acid.
Dental erosion can be caused by certain health conditions such as stomach acid problems and eating disorders, but eating and drinking foods high in acid such as sport drinks and soft drinks can also cause teeth to erode.
The association recommends three steps to help prevent dental erosion:
. Choose drinks that are low in acid. Carbonated soft drinks are high in acid, which can harm your teeth.
. Do not swish or hold high acid drinks in your mouth for long periods of time or suck on citrus fruits.
. It is best to consume foods and drinks high in acid at the end of mealtime while there is still plenty of saliva in your mouth to wash away sugars and acids.
As part of a healthy lifestyle, practice good oral hygiene and have your mouth examined regularly by your dentist.
Only your dentist has the training, skill and expertise to identify and address your oral health needs.
If you do not have a dental plan and cannot afford to pay your entire bill at once, ask your dentist about a payment plan.
If you cannot afford care, even with a payment plan, contact your nearest social services agency, provincial or territorial dental association or dental school.
You can also visit the Canadian Dental Association for more information at www.cda-adc.ca.
Source: Canadian Dental Association