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National Oral Health Month: 3 Common Dental Problems across Canada

Oral health problems are common for many people. Some take it seriously, while others ignore it. Bleeding or tender gums, oral infections and sensitivity are all signs of poor oral health. Dental health problems affect your quality of life by disturbing your social, physical and mental well-being. It also has a negative influence on your ability to eat, speak and socialize.

April is the National Oral Health Month in Canada. As such, we would like to discuss three of the most common dental issues faced by Canadians. Some of these issues can quickly become serious, so understanding their causes is important to avoid future complications.

1) Oral Cancer

Oral cancer occurs in the mouth or oral cavity. It affects gums, lips, cheeks, tongue, roof and floor of the mouth. It can even spread to the bones of the upper or lower jaw and lymph nodes in the neck. The most common type of oral cancer is squamous cell carcinomas. People who regularly consume tobacco and alcohol are more likely to develop oral cancer.

According to the Canadian Dental Association, about 3,200 Canadians are diagnosed with oral cancer every year and 1,050 deaths occur from it.

Oral cancer can be prevented by quitting or severely limiting two habits, smoking and alcohol consumption. An annual comprehensive oral evaluation and soft tissue examination are also recommended to prevent this devastating disease.

2) Gum Disease

Inflammation of the gum line that can spread to the bone surrounding your teeth is called gum disease. It’s caused when plaque sticks at and below the edges of the gums. If the plaque is not cleaned regularly, then it hardens into tartar promoting bacterial infection. There are three stages of gum disease based on the severity; gingivitis, periodontitis and advanced periodontitis.

The Canadian Dental Association states that 7 out of 10 Canadians will develop gum disease at some time in their lives. Dr. Daniel Price, the President of the Canadian Academy of Periodontology said that approximately 20% of Canadians have an active periodontal disease.

Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing gum disease. Regular brushing, flossing, professional cleaning and dental examination help in fighting against this oral issue.

3) Tooth Decay

Tooth decay occurs when bacteria are formed in the mouth and the organic acid released eats away the enamel. It causes a hole in the tooth, also known as a cavity. Consumption of food items rich in sugar and carbohydrates, poor oral hygiene and dry mouth are some of the main factors causing tooth decay.

Dr. Ian McConnachie, past president of the Ontario Dental Association, said that tooth decay in young Canadians is the most widespread chronic disease of childhood, much higher than the second on the list which is asthma.

Prevention of tooth decay becomes very easy with a little vigilance. Brushing after every meal, flossing once in a day and avoiding frequent consumption of sugar and carbohydrate-rich diet can help in dealing with the issue.

It’s never too late to take preventive measures against the oral issues. Brush and floss regularly to avoid gum disease, tooth decay and oral cancer. If the dental problem persists, then consult a professional.