Oral health: it’s about more than the mouth

Rebecca Johnson
Albert Health Services

Most of us know that diet and exercise play an important role in keeping us healthy.
Did you know that a healthy mouth is also an important part of your overall health?
With April being Oral Health Month, it’s a great time to think about the importance of keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
Although the mouth is part of the body, we often think of it as something separate. Mounting evidence tells us otherwise.
Poor oral health is not only associated with potentially significant and lifelong health problems as diabetes, heart disease and respiratory illness, it has also been linked to pre-term and low-birth-weight babies.
Anyone who has experienced poor oral health can also attest to the negative impact it has on overall quality of life.
Mouth pain, missing teeth or oral infections can influence the way a person speaks, eats and socializes, affecting their physical, mental and social well-being. Oral health problems can also be a sign of something more serious, including oral cancer.
The good news? Good oral health is something we can all maintain.
Make it a habit to brush teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste (in the morning, and before bedtime), drink tap water with fluoride to prevent tooth decay.
Be sure to visit an oral health professional regularly and ask about additional fluoride treatments to keep your teeth strong..
If you are experiencing signs of oral health concerns, including bleeding gums or irritation or pain in the mouth, don’t ignore it. Visit an oral health professional.
To help prevent tooth decay in children at higher risk and in financial need, AHS delivers a preschool fluoride varnish program for eligible children aged 12 to 35 months, and a school-based fluoride varnish and dental sealant program for children in Kindergarten to Grade 2 and Grades 1 and 2, respectively.
For more information on oral health and AHS oral health services, visit www.ahs.ca/oralhealth.

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