April is National Oral Health Month!

As part of a healthy lifestyle and to help reduce the risk of oral disease, follow these 5 steps to good oral health. Your whole body will thank you for it.

See your dentist regularly

• Regular checkups and professional cleanings are the best way to prevent problems or to stop small problems from getting worse.

• Your dentist will look for signs of oral disease. Oral diseases, such as oral cancer, often go unnoticed and may lead to or be a sign of serious health problems in other parts of the body.

Keep your mouth clean

• Brush your teeth and tongue at least twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.

• Floss every day. Flossing reaches more than a third of your tooth surface that is otherwise neglected with just brushing.

• Your dentist may also recommend that you use a fluoride or antimicrobial mouthrinse to help prevent cavities or gum disease.

Eat, drink, but be wary

• Healthy food is good for your general health and oral health. The nutrients in healthy foods help you to fight cavities and gum disease.

• Limit consumption of sugar – one of the main causes of dental problems.

• Limit consumption of highly acidic food and drinks. The acid may contribute to dental erosion.

Look for warning signs and tell your dentist

• Look for warning signs of periodontal disease (gum disease): red, shiny, puffy, sore or sensitive gums; bleeding when you brush or floss; or bad breath that won’t go away. Gum disease is one of the main reasons why adults lose their teeth.

• Look for warning signs of oral cancer: bleeding that you can’t explain, open sores that don’t heal within seven to 10 days, 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, inside of your cheeks or on your gums. The three most common sites for oral cancer are the sides and bottom of your tongue and floor of your mouth.

• Look for warning signs of tooth decay: teeth that are sensitive to hot, cold, sweetness or pressure.

Avoid all tobacco products

• Smoking can cause oral cancer, heart disease and a variety of other cancers. It can also create stained teeth, tooth loss, infected gums and bad breath.

• All forms of tobacco are dangerous to your oral health and your overall health, not just cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco, such as chewing tobacco, snuff and snus can cause mouth, tongue and lip cancer, and can be as addictive as cigarettes.

This article was featured in The Globe and Mail Special on April 8th, 2013. To see more articles please visit this link http://www.cda-adc.ca/_files/cda/news_events/media/globeandmail/2013.pdf

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