Did you know that April is Oral Health Month in Ontario? It is great that there is a month dedicated to bringing awareness to the health of our mouths, gums and teeth, this action is really important to do all year-round! My family tries to stay on top of our twice daily brushing and flossing routine, but it takes more than following this regime to maintain your oral health. Were you aware that oral health can affect a person’s physical, mental and social well-being? For example, pain and infections can have an impact on how a person speaks, eats, and interacts with others or how they work? Here are some ways I am going to start being more mindful about fitting in oral health into my family’s routine.
Taking a closer look
Do you ever watch yourself in the mirror as you brush and floss your teeth? I know I do all the time! Once I finish admiring my brushing job, I am going to start taking a few moments to peer a bit longer to have a better look at my mouth. Why? Well, by familiarizing yourself with what looks normal in your mouth, you may be able to spot things that look different or abnormal. These signs could mean you have signs of gum disease or oral cancer. Most dental diseases, including tooth decay, are easier to treat and cost less time, pain and money to you if they are detected early by your dentist.
No more stress
I did not know that stress affects oral health! It is a contributing factor to issues such as bruxism (teeth grinding), temporomandibular disorder (problems with the jaw joints and muscles that allow chewing), periodontal (gum) disease, Xerostomia
Stress can also make people forget about their oral health routines or poor lifestyle choices (smoking, consuming too much alcohol and eating more sugary foods) can lead to serious issues such as oral cancer, gum disease or tooth decay. Stress cannot be eradicated from your life, but I will start taking some steps to try cutting some of the stress out of my life. I will try to do things such as staying more active, eating a more balanced diet with plenty of fruit and veggies and getting plenty of sleep to help cope with stress.
Watching our snacking habits
My family loves snacking! We all have a sweet tooth and enjoy treats during our Movie Nights. During the other nights of the week when we want to have a snack, we take some steps to look out for oral health. We try to eat enough whole grain bread and cereals, fruits and veggies and lean meats to maintain our strong teeth. We also have started to cut down on the acidic juices and drinks my family consumes such as soft drinks, orange juice and lemonade. When it comes to brushing after sipping in drink high in acidity, we tend to wait about an hour before we do so. If you do brush your teeth right away, you will be helping to remove the surface of your teeth. By waiting, the saliva in your mouth will help to fight the acid that lingers so it is safer to brush and floss.
There are so many things your family can do to maintain you oral health. When issues do arise, or once a year, make sure to make an appointment with your dentist! Regular dental visits are the best way to detect any known or unknown oral health problems so they can be handled without more damage to your mouth. Dentists can also help to prevent problems before they start by giving advice and instruction. Don’t have a dentist? No problem! Click here to find an Ontario dentist near you and make an appointment today!
Although this post has been generously sponsored by The Ontario Dental Association, the opinions and language are my own.