April is Dental Health Awareness Month! People all too often ignore bleeding or tender gums as well as other warning signs pertaining to oral disease or cancer. 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 and eats.
Oral health problems could be a sign of something as serious as oral cancer. Each year 3,200 Canadians are diagnosed with oral cancer. This devastating disease has a low survival rate because it’s often diagnosed too late. With early detection, the survival rate of oral cancer is greatly improved. One of the best ways to detect this disease early is regular visits to your dentist for a dental exam.
Your dentist has the training, skills and expertise to detect oral cancer early and tend to all your oral health care needs. Regular dental exams help prevent small problems from getting worse.
To Reduce the Risk of Oral Disease, Follow the Canadian Dental Association’s 5 Steps:
- Keep your Mouth Clean: Use a soft-bristle toothbrush & fluoride toothpaste. Wait 20 to 30 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth and floss every day.
- Check your Mouth Regularly: Look for signs of gum disease (red, shiny, sore or sensitive gums. Bad breath that won’t go away. Bleeding when you brush or floss) and look for signs of oral cancer (Bleeding sores that don’t heal. White or red patches. Numbness or tingling. Small lumps and/or thickening on the sides or bottom of your tongue).
- Eat Well: Good nutrients help build strong teeth and gums. Munch on healthy snacks (cheese, vegetables, non-acidic fruits).
- See your Dentist Regularly: 48% of Canadians who haven’t seen a dentist in the past year have gum disease. Regular dental exams and professional cleanings are the best way to prevent and detect problems before they get worse.
- Don’t Smoke or Chew Tobacco: Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause oral cancer, heart disease, gum disease, and a variety of other cancers.