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News Release

Health Department offers five easy steps to good oral health during Oral Health Month

WHITBY, ON,  April 11, 2013 - April is Oral Health Month and Durham Region Health Department encourages everyone to practice the five easy steps to good oral health. The steps include: visiting your dental health professional on a regular basis, keeping your mouth clean, limiting sugary drinks and foods, checking your mouth for any sore lumps or bumps, and staying away from all tobacco products. Information displays will be set up at several locations across Durham Region during April, including local libraries and arenas.

“Good oral health is necessary for your overall health and wellbeing,” explained Dr. Patricia Abbey, Director, Oral Health with the Health Department. “By following these basic steps, you will not only improve your chances of keeping your teeth for a lifetime, but also decrease your chances of developing long-term illnesses.”

When visiting your dental health professional, Dr. Abbey advised that “there is no ‘one size fits all approach’; it’s important to speak with your dentist about how often they need to see you. For some people, once a year is sufficient, while others may need to go more frequently.”

In order to keep your mouth clean, it is recommended to brush twice a day for two minutes each time and floss daily. The Health Department also recommends limiting your consumption of sugary foods and drinks. “By staying away from pop and instead choosing water to quench your thirst, you’ll limit the amount of sugar in your mouth, as excess sugar causes tooth decay,” added Dr. Abbey.

It is also recommended to regularly check your mouth for any sores, lumps or bumps that do not heal. “Sores in the mouth will typically heal within 10 to 14 days. If they haven’t, you should go visit your dentist as this could be a sign of a more serious illness such as oral cancer,” explained Dr. Abbey. “You should also speak with your dentist or medical doctor if you notice a persistent feeling of having something stuck in your throat or if your voice changes, as these are also warning signs.”

The Health Department also recommends staying away from all tobacco products to ensure good oral health. Smoking and using tobacco products, such as betel nut, snus or spit tobacco, can cause periodontal disease and cavities, and can lead to some forms of cancer including cancers of the throat and mouth.

For more information about oral health, speak with your dental health professional or call Durham Region Health Department at 905-723-1365 or 1-866-853-1326, or visit


Media Inquiries:
Glendene Collins - Health Department 905-668-7711, ext. 2999