April is Oral Health Month in Canada. Oral Health Month serves as a reminder of the importance of good oral hygiene. This includes but is not limited to brushing at least twice daily, flossing and regular visits to the dentist not only keep your mouth healthy but also contribute to better health overall.

We often ignore many of the symptoms of poor oral health and potential problems. Bleeding or tender gums, bad breath, sores and so much more take a back seat whereas an irritation or pain elsewhere in the body would mean a trip to the doctor.

Poor oral health can affect a person’s quality of life. Oral pain, missing teeth or oral infections can influence the way a person speaks, eats and socializes. These oral health problems can reduce a person’s quality of life by affecting their physical, mental and social well-being. Not to mention correcting a serious oral health issue can be expensive.

The reality is that oral health problems could be a sign of something serious such as oral cancer. Every year approximately 3,200 Canadians are diagnosed with oral cancer and 1,050 deaths from oral cancer occur. This devastating disease has a low survival rate because it is often diagnosed very late. 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.

In addition to seeing your dentist regularly, here are 4 great ways to keep your teeth healthy from the Canadian Dental Association:

  1. Brush at least twice a day and floss at least once daily between dental office visits. Choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride and is approved by the Canadian Dental Association.
  2. Make healthy food choices, and try to limit sugary and highly acidic foods, which can promote tooth decay and acid erosion.
  3. Check your own mouth for signs of gum disease, tooth decay or oral cancer. Symptoms of gum disease include sore, sensitive and red gums that may bleed during brushing. Sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet food or drink or pressure could suggest the presence of tooth decay. Symptoms of oral cancer include: sores in the mouth that persist for more than 7 to 10 days, unexplained bleeding, patchy white or red areas on the tongue or in the mouth-tingling or numbness or small lumps or thickening on the sides or bottom of the tongue or in other areas of the mouth. If you feel that you have any of these symptoms present in your mouth, contact your Victoria dentist, as he/she is specially trained to recognize gum disease, tooth decay and oral cancer and can provide early treatment.
  4. Don’t smoke or use tobacco products. The use of these products causes gum damage, tooth staining, tooth loss, persistent bad breath and can lead to oral cancer.

Only your dentist has the training, skills, and expertise to properly address all your oral health care needs. Book an appointment today to take care of your own oral health!

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