April is Oral Health Month

    Your Dentist Sees More Than Just Your Teeth
    Focusing on Oral Health and Diabetes

    TORONTO, April 1 /CNW/ - It is estimated that 2.25 million Canadians have
diabetes. Many are unaware they have the condition. By monitoring any oral
infections that affect your gums and jaw, your dentist may be able to help
detect signs of early onset diabetes.
    This is the central message of the Ontario Dental Association's (ODA)
Oral Health Month celebrations, held annually in April.
    Striving to achieve optimal health should be a life long goal. And now
there is growing scientific evidence that suggests a strong relationship
between oral health and overall health.
    "Good oral health is a vital step in maintaining good overall health,"
states Dr. Ian McConnachie, president of the Ontario Dental Association. "We
want to draw the public's attention to the fact that gum disease and diabetes
can affect one another. In fact, in some people, any significant change in the
health of their gums has lead to the diagnosis of diabetes."
    Recent studies have revealed that gum disease and diabetes can affect one
another. For instance, gum disease can intensify the complications associated
with diabetes by increasing blood sugar levels. Accordingly, studies have also
shown that people with diabetes face a greater risk of developing oral
infections and gum disease than those who do not have diabetes.
    "Dentists have the medical training, expertise and frequent opportunity
through regular dental check-ups, to prevent and diagnose a wide range of
potential medical conditions linked to oral health," explains Dr. McConnachie.
"Dentists understand the association between oral and overall health and other
medical conditions. As a result, no other individual health-care professional
is in such a unique position to help educate the public on vital information
relevant to diabetes and oral health."
    During Oral Health Month, the ODA, its 38 regional dental societies, and
hundreds of individual dentists are helping to raise awareness of oral health
through a variety of province-wide and grassroots local programs, including:

    -  A major ODA radio advertising campaign in key Ontario markets,
       highlighting the association between oral and overall health and
       reinforcing the role of dentists as part of their patients' primary
       health-care team

    -  The dentist-led Brush-a-mania educational program which this year will
       see 55,000 students from 170 elementary schools in 40 communities
       across Ontario brushing their teeth for two minutes at the same time.
       This program for children in junior kindergarten to Grade 6, was
       created by the Toronto Academy of Dentistry and the Rotary Club of
       Toronto - Don Mills

    -  Distribution of diabetes and oral health brochures and educational
       materials to more than 6,500 dental offices across the province

    -  Launch of a new "Your Oral Health" section on the ODA web site
       (www.oda.on.ca). The web site feature covers many oral health topics
       and dental procedures, and includes an online quiz to Rate Your Dental

    -  A wide range distribution of grassroots community programs organized
       by local dental societies addressing the needs of children, seniors,
       and the general population.

    To find out more about Oral Health Month 2007, or the relationship
between oral health and diabetes contact the Ontario Dental Association at
(416) 922-3900 or log on to the ODA web site at www.oda.on.ca.

    Oral Health Month takes place every April to help build awareness about
the importance of oral health for all ages. Community events and a
province-wide Brush-a-mania program in elementary schools, promote the
importance of oral health to overall health. Oral Health Month events also
allow members of the public to benefit from dentists' medical training and
expertise by asking any questions they might have about their oral health.

    The Ontario Dental Association (ODA) and its 6,500 members are committed
to providing exemplary oral health care. The ODA is a voluntary professional
association representing nearly 80 percent of Ontario dentists. As Ontario's
primary source of information on dental health and the profession, the ODA has
been enhancing public awareness of the importance of oral health sine 1867.
The ODA works with health-care professionals, governments and private sector
to attain the highest possible quality standards of health care for Ontarians.
For more information, please visit the ODA website at www.oda.on.ca.

For further information:

For further information: Kenneth Swartz, Communications Manager, Ontario
Dental Association, (416) 355-2257, or 1-800-387-1393

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Ontario Dental Association

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