Oral Health MonthApril 19, 2019
Smile April is Oral health month! And while you may brush your teeth regularly are you doing enough for the overall hygiene of your mouth. As a sister to a dental hygienist I’m constantly reminded about the importance e of oral hygiene, but I’m also blown away about “dental” facts and also sometimes disgusted with the findings. In light of Oral Health month I sat down with my dentist Dr. Jessie McAllister to break down the information and importance of brushing your teeth. Before we get to the nitty gritty let me introduce you to my dentist.
Yes this beautiful, young blonde woman is my dentist. Jessie has been practicing dentistry for 8 years and just recently opened up her own beautiful practice. I say beautiful because her office really is. It’s modern, new clean and inviting and really doesn’t have the feel of a dentist office at all. Her clinic is modern, and state of the art with convenient services like online booking. Jessie and her staff are also wonderful and pleasant to work with. They’re all kind, warm and inviting which really helps to set her office apart. She is taking new patients if you’re on the search! Ok now onto the deep discovery.
Me- What is the importance of Oral Health?
DR – Your oral health is intimately linked to your overall health. Many people don’t realize this association and therefore they may place less importance on their oral health. If you’re not caring for your teeth and gums, you’re not only putting yourself at risk for dental issues, you’re putting yourself as risk for many overall health issues. There is a direct link between inflammation and adverse health outcomes. Research has shown an association between the presence of untreated periodontal disease and increased risk of heart attack/stroke, respiratory diseases, pre-term/low birth weight babies, certain cancers, and autoimmune diseases. There is also a bidirectional relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes. This means that people with diabetes are more likely to develop periodontal disease and the treatment of this periodontal disease can actually help to stabilize glucose levels in a diabetic patient. The purpose of oral health month is to raise awareness of these concerns and to educate our patients to take better care of themselves.
Me – What are Canadians still “not” doing when it comes to Oral Hygiene?
DR – According to the Canadian dental association:
- 96% of adults have cavities
- 73% of Canadians brush twice a day
- But only 28% floss at least five times per week
Tips to help improve oral health from the Canadian Dental Association:
1) Keep your mouth clean:
- -Brush twice daily with a soft bristle brush for 2-3mins
- -Floss daily to reach all the areas your brush cannot reach f not flossing, you are missing 1/3 of
- the tooth structure
2) Check your mouth regularly:
- -look for signs of gum disease such as red, puffy gums that bleed easily or bad breath that won’t go away
- -look for signs of oral cancer such as white or red patches, open sores that won’t heal, numbness or tingling.
- -make sure to visit your dentist if there has been any change in your mouth, especially if there is a change in size, shape or appearance of the lesion
- -early detection is key to ensure appropriate diagnosis and treatment
3) Eat well:
- – a well balanced diet is important for your overall health and also your dental health
- – acidic foods and drinks will soften your enamel (wait at least 20-30mins after eating before brushing or rinse with water to help dilute the acid)
- -limit foods and beverages containing sugar or carbohydrates (the bacteria in your mouth feed on these substances and cause cavities)
- -limit snacking in between meals or sipping on a sugary beverage for a long period of time (the longer the sugars sit on your teeth, the more likely they are to cause cavities)
- -ideal snacks: nuts, vegetables, non-acidic foods, cheese
4) Visit your dentist regularly:
- -it’s the best way to detect and prevent problems before they get worse
- -depends on patient-specific needs but generally every 6 months is a good rule of thumb
5) Don’t smoke or chew tobacco:
- -links to oral cancer, heart disease, gum disease, and a variety of other cancers
Me – Why should we see a dentist and how often?
DR – It is important to visit your dentist regularly for a thorough dental exam and cleaning. The frequency depends on the individual need, but it is generally recommended that you see your dentist at least twice a year. At your dental visit you will receive a comprehensive extra oral and intra oral exam. We are not just looking for cavities, we look for signs of gum disease, recession, temporomandibular joint disorders, chipped/broken fillings or teeth, infection, and pathology. In addition to this comprehensive examination, the dentist may also need to take x-rays to diagnose issues which cannot be seen clinically. Once a diagnosis has been made, we will take the time to explain all the findings and educate our patients about what they can do to improve their oral health.
Have your own questions contact Dr. McAllister here!