APRIL IS NATIONAL ORAL HEALTH MONTH.
IN RECOGNITION, OUR LANDMARK DENTAL CENTRE TEAM CONNECTS YOUR ORAL HEALTH TO YOUR OVERALL HEALTH & WELL-BEING.
IT ALL STARTS WITH A SMILE.
YOUR ORAL & OVERALL HEALTH
Your smile is one of the first things people see and can make a lasting impression. When you have good oral health, not only are there positive effects on your overall health, but there is an increase in your confidence, self-esteem, and drive socially and professionally. However, when one’s oral health is poor, their quality of life is directly impacted. Oral discomfort, missing or broken teeth, or oral infection may influence the ways one speaks, eats and socializes. Loss of oral health and function can ultimately affect the quality of one’s physical, mental, and social well-being.
Think of your mouth as a window into what is going on throughout the rest of your body. For your dentist, this window functions as an integral detector of early signs of disease or health concerns pertinent to not only your mouth but your entire body.
While some oral health concerns are benign, they may also be a sign of something more concerning. Regardless, such concerns are best treated when detected early, such as oral cancer. Research has shown that approximately 3,200 Canadians are diagnosed each year with oral cancer, of that number, 1,050 oral cancer deaths occur. When detected early enough, the survival rate of oral cancer can be and often is greatly improved.
A COMPELLING CASE TO KEEP UP GOOD ORAL HYGIENE HABITS
If you did not already have enough reasons to take care of your smile, understanding the relationship between your oral health and overall health may provide an even stronger case. Not only is it important to ensure a diligent at-home oral hygiene routine, but it is just as integral to keep up with regular visits to your dentist and their team of professionals, trained and experienced in keeping your smile healthy and detecting the early signs of oral cancer, among other health concerns. Remember, good oral hygiene habits are an investment in your overall health today and for your future.
WHY ROUTINE CLEANING APPOINTMENTS ARE IMPORTANT
Routine visits to see your dental hygienist is an integral part of maintaining and improving your oral and overall health. Our dental hygienist’s work collaboratively with our team of dentists to provide you with excellence in oral health care. Our hygienist’s area of professional expertise is preventive dentistry to ensure your health and well-being. Studies have shown that your oral health is connected to many other health conditions beyond your mouth, such as heart disease, low birth weight babies, & yeast/viral infections. Oral health & overall health are more connected than most people realize. Often the first sign of disease may show up in your mouth.
WHY DO I NEED AN ORAL CANCER SCREENING?
Taking preventive measures, such as a thorough oral soft tissue screenings by your dentist and dental hygienist is a recommended part of a comprehensive assessment of your oral health.
Oral cancer often goes unnoticed in its early stages as it may present without pain or symptoms. According to Canadian Cancer Statistics, approximately 3 people will die each day from oral cancers (mouth, lips, tongue and throat) in Canada. If the cancer is detected early enough and before it has spread to other tissues, the 5-year survival rate is almost 90%.
While those who smoke or use tobacco products are at a higher risk, the fastest growing population of oral cancer patients are young, non-smoking, healthy male and female patients who have been exposed to certain strains of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus).
An oral soft tissue examination is simple, painless and only takes a few minutes. Just as a yearly physical is an important part of your health care, a yearly oral cancer check is essential for providing early detection. It is recommended that Canadians be checked for oral cancer on a yearly basis. Early detection can save lives.
WHAT IS AN ORAL CANCER SCREENING & WHO DOES IT?
At Landmark Dental Centre, we are fortunate to have a team trained and experienced in the use of auto-fluorescence or VELscope. It is with this advanced technology, along with a tactical examination of your head and neck by your dentist and dental hygienist, that we are able to screen for any signs of oral cancer in your mouth. As with many technologies, it is only as good as the knowledge of those using it. Dr. Brent Corlazzoli and his associates, Dr. Amanda Resener, Dr. Hilary Pada, and Dr. Angelyn Salaberry are all highly trained in the use of VELscope and in the performance of oral cancer screenings. In fact, Dr. Pada and Dr. Salaberry are two of three dentists trained in Oral Oncology (cancer) working locally at SAHCSI. They also work with the team of Specialists at the Vancouver BC Cancer Agency who developed & continue to do research on surgical implementation of this important technology.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF ORAL CANCER?
One of the real dangers of oral cancer is that in its early stages, it can easily go unnoticed due to little to no discomfort or obvious physical changes. The good news: your dentist and dental hygienist are trained in early oral cancer detections.
To ensure good oral health, both you and your dental team play a role. While your dentist and dental hygienist will conduct a thorough head, neck and mouth exam during your regular checkup and cleaning, it is suggested to include a monthly at-home check of your mouth as part of your hygiene routine.
Because there are so many benign tissue changes that occur normally in your mouth, and some things as simple as a bite on the inside of your cheek may mimic the look of a dangerous tissue change, it is important to have any sore or discolored area of your mouth, which does not heal within 14 days, looked at by a dental professional.
INCLUDING ORAL CANCER CHECKS IN YOUR HYGIENE ROUTINE?
Take a moment to watch this clip and learn how to conduct a thorough oral cancer check as part of your at-home hygiene regime, as suggested by the Head and Neck Cancer Foundation.
brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush & fluoride toothpaste
floss between your teeth; dental flossing reaches the areas between the teeth that your toothbrush & oral rinses do not
rinse using a non-alcohol antiseptic mouthwash to kill germs that cause cavities & gum disease
make healthy food choices; nutritious food, low in sugars – good for both oral & overall health
if you play sports, wear a mouthguard & protect your pearly whites; we can make a custom-fitted one just for you
choose to be tobacco-free; tobacco products can stain your teeth & increase your risk of developing oral cancer, bone loss & can stain your teeth
dental sealants can keep you cavity-free; ask if pit & fissure sealants are a good option for you
include a monthly mouth check in for at-home dental routine; this is a great way to understand what is normal in your mouth & to ensure any changes do not go unnoticed
rethink your drink; sweetened beverages & acidic fluids increase your risk of developing cavities & decay (cavities) & may wear down your enamel
visit your hygienist & dentist regularly for assessment & care of your oral health