Deep Clean for Spring: Celebrate National Oral Health Month this April
It’s finally April, and you know what that means—after a long and dreary winter, spring is finally here! A lot of us are gearing up for spring cleaning, but while we’re decluttering our surroundings, it’s also important to remember to take care of ourselves. That includes adopting the spring cleaning mindset to our health, particularly the teeth and gums. And there’s no better time to start doing that than in April because it’s also National Oral Health Month!
This National Oral Health Month, the Canadian Dental Association aims to highlight the need to maintain proper oral hygiene habits for stronger teeth and gums and better overall health. If you’ve spent the latter part of fall and winter ignoring tender or bleeding gums or the signs of cavities and tooth decay, now is a great time to pay attention to them.
Visit Your Dentist this National Oral Health Month
Celebrating National Oral Health Month is a great wake-up call for checking your overall health. After all, did you know that poor oral hygiene habits have been linked to health problems and complications? There’s no better time to visit your dentist after skipping out over the past year or two, so they can easily check for signs of cavities and gum disease. The goal is to restore good oral health before it’s too late so you won’t suffer from complications that can affect the way you speak, eat, socialize, and maximize overall oral function.
Get Ahead of Oral Cancer
Maintaining good oral health doesn’t just aim to prevent cavities and tooth decay; in the long run, it keeps you safe from serious health problems like oral cancer.
In Canada alone, oral cancer is becoming a more common phenomenon. Unlike other types of cancer, this devastating disease has a low survival rate because it is often diagnosed in its late stages. The irony, though, is that it can be detected early on—as long as you visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleaning. That’s because dentists are specifically trained to detect and address even the tiniest signs of oral health problems, so make sure to visit them regularly, even if you feel like your teeth are in great shape and brush and floss regularly.
Make Oral Health a Priority
As part of National Oral Health Month, we’re sharing and reminding you of the simple oral health tips that you can easily follow right at home.
Keep a Clean Mouth
We already know that it’s important to brush and floss regularly, but did you know that how you brush your teeth is also important? That’s right. For optimal oral hygiene, make sure to use a soft-bristle toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste; this combination gives the gums and teeth a gentle but deep clean.
While you might get excited to start taking better care of your teeth, just remember that you need to wait 20 to 30 minutes after a meal before you brush your teeth to ensure that all the food and acid have properly passed through the mouth, leaving only tiny morsels to clean out.
Check Your Mouth Routinely
This doesn’t mean simply smiling in front of the mirror to see how your teeth look. Make it a habit to check for signs of gum disease—it will surprise you how simple the symptoms are. These include chronic bleeding when you brush or floss and bad breath that won’t go away; as well, keep an eye out for red, shiny, puffy, and sore or sensitive gums.
While we don’t advocate self-diagnosis over the Internet, it’s important to know how to check for signs of oral cancer. This is important especially because oral cancer has grim prognosis when diagnosed late, and since a lot of us are guilty of missing or putting off dental checkups, regularly checking the mouth is the first line of defense.
Signs of oral cancer include:
- Bleeding or open sores that do not heal.
- White or red patches inside the mouth.
- Small lumps or thickening on the sides or bottom of the tongue or the floor and roof of the mouth, as well as the inside of the cheeks and the gums.
- Numbness or tingling in the mouth.
Eat a Balanced, Healthy Diet
A lot of people go on diets or vow to start eating healthy foods to achieve their desired shape or weight. However, a healthy diet can benefit more than just your physique.
Foods rich in calcium, such as cheese, nuts, vegetables, and non-acidic fruits are essential in strengthening teeth and gums. While these low-calorie and low-sugar options are great for building muscle mass and achieving a stronger body, they play a vital role in oral health as well, which is often overlooked. That’s why it’s important to start swapping out food and drinks that are high in sugar and carbohydrates. The biggest culprit? Soft drinks. That’s because even the sugar-free ones contain acid that quickly erodes the enamel of teeth, leaving them vulnerable to fast-acting decay.
Overall, a healthy diet also reduces the risk of other health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. And if that’s not enough, it all circles back to the mouth: oral diseases have been linked to these major ailments, so start taking better care of your oral health today.
Avoid Tobacco at All Costs
It’s been universally proven that smoking leads to lung cancer and respiratory diseases, along with a slew of other health complications. For oral health, smoking and chewing tobacco can lead to oral cancer. At the bare minimum, it causes gum disease and staining of otherwise perfect pearly whites. Simply put, the long-term health risks of smoking just aren’t worth it. Start taking concrete steps today to help kick the habit for good!
Make the most out of April’s National Oral Health Month! Visit your dentist at Dawson Dental today for a regular dental checkup and cleaning. Call us at 1-877-308-8105 or contact us here to book an appointment with one of our dentists.