April is National Oral Health Month!
According to the Canadian Dental Association, “good oral health contributes positively to your physical, mental and social well-being and to the enjoyment of life's possibilities.”
Oral health reaches beyond the health of our teeth and gums to our overall health. Poor oral health is linked to diabetes and respiratory disease. In pregnant women, there is a link between poor oral health and gestational diabetes as well as having a preterm, low birth weight baby. Children whose primary caregivers have poor oral health are at increased risk of early childhood tooth decay as cavity-causing bacteria can get passed to them. Dental health matters!
Rich or poor, young or old, poor oral health can be found everywhere! Tooth decay is the most common infectious disease in children and is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. Dental disease can be costly in terms of time lost from work, school and normal activities. In Canada, oral cancer is the 13th most common type of cancer with a relatively poor 5 year survival rate estimated at 63%, which is below that of prostate cancer, melanoma, or cervical cancers. It pays to have regular dental checkups and to catch problems early, before they become big problems.
To celebrate National Oral Health Month, we’ll be posting dental health tips and information weekly on the Northern Health Matters blog. Learn how to protect your smile and prevent dental diseases!