Open Wide: Is Your Mouth Trying to Tell You Something About Your Health?

- LISTERINE(R) Brand is raising awareness about oral health and overall health during Oral Health Month -

TORONTO, April 28 /CNW/ - Did you know that there are more bacteria in your mouth than there are people on earth? Even a healthy mouth can contain as many as six billion bacteria. The bacteria in our mouths play a key role in the development of gum disease, including periodontal disease. And periodontal disease has been linked to a number of diseases including: diabetes, respiratory illness, pre-term, low birth weight babies and cardiovascular disease.(i) April is Oral Health Month, therefore there's no better time than now to take action and improve your oral health.

"Research has shown that having unhealthy gums may put your heart at risk, however, more studies are needed to explore how these two conditions are linked," says Dr. Steven Weiner, Dentistry on Liverpool. "Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the country and Canadians should be taking measures to reduce their risk of this condition."

Gum disease often develops slowly and without causing any pain. The most common form of gum disease is gingivitis. At its most serious, gum disease can cause pain, abscesses, difficulty in eating, bad breath, and a loss of teeth. Gum disease is one of the most common dental problems Canadian adults face. In fact, up to 80 per cent of Canadians will be affected by gum disease at some point in their lives(ii).

Many Canadians know that eating right and getting exercise is important to your overall health, but many may not realize that oral health may also play an important role in the health of your body. One theory regarding the potential connection between the health of the mouth and body states that plaque and gingivitis germs can travel from your mouth to your bloodstream and ultimately contribute to these broader health problems. In some people with gingivitis (the early stages of gum disease) every day activities like chewing can burst tiny blood vessels in the mouth, allowing bacteria to mix with blood. Gingivitis can occur in as little as seven days as a result of poor oral hygiene.

Practicing good oral hygiene can minimize the risk of developing gum disease and potentially prevent the development of more serious conditions. Some tips from Health Canada on improving oral health include:(iii)

    
    -   Brush and floss your teeth daily. Using an antimicrobial mouth rinse
        as well can help to reduce the bacteria in your mouth;

    -   Visit your dental professional regularly to have your mouth examined;

    -   Eat a healthy diet according to Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide;

    -   Do not smoke; and

    -   If you are pregnant, be sure to eat healthy foods and maintain good
        oral health.
    

"Maintaining good oral health is an important part of your overall health," says Dr. Andreas Wielgosz, Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson. "We encourage Canadians to take charge of their own health and well-being by practicing good oral health; including visiting a dentist regularly and following a healthy lifestyle that includes healthy eating, being physically active and becoming and remaining smoke-free."

"As part of its commitment to help improve the health of Canadians, the LISTERINE(R) Brand will support the Heart and Stroke Foundation in raising awareness of heart disease by giving $100,000 to the Heart and Stroke Foundation from February 1, 2010 to September 30, 2010," says Sylvie Levesque, Group Brand Director, Johnson & Johnson Inc.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation thanks Johnson & Johnson Inc. for their generous support. This is not an endorsement.

For more information on oral health, including an interactive video that explains oral health's role in overall health, Canadians can visit: www.listerine.ca/health.

About LISTERINE(R) Mouthwash

Johnson & Johnson Inc. is a leader in the consumer oral care market with LISTERINE(R) Antiseptic Mouthwash.

About Heart and Stroke Foundation

The Heart and Stroke Foundation (heartandstroke.ca), a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy.

References:

(i) Health Canada. Smile - Healthy Teeth, Healthy Body. Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/alt_formats/pdf/pubs/oral-bucco/2009-smile-sourire/2009-smile-sourire-eng.pdf

(ii) CDA Fact Sheet - What You Can't See Can Hurt You. Available at: http://www.cda-adc.ca/_files/cda/news_events/health_month/pdfs/nohm_oralhealth_quiz.pdf

(iii) Health Canada. Oral Health. Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/oral-bucco/index-eng.php

SOURCE Johnson & Johnson

For further information: For further information: Vanessa Principe, Marsha Knoll, Edelman, (416) 979-1120 ext. 395, 329, Vanessa.principe@edelman.com, Marsha.knoll@edelman.com


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