Canadians fail to make the grade in first Oral Health Report Card

    Dental hygienists propel action for 4th annual Gingivitis Week

    TORONTO, June 4 /CNW/ - Today, the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association
(CDHA) is starting the fourth annual LISTERINE(*) Gingivitis Week by announcing
the results of its first national Oral Health Report Card - a comprehensive
"cross country check-up" of Canadians oral hygiene knowledge(1).
    "During last year's Gingivitis Week, the CDHA issued a Call-to-Action for
all Canadians to improve their oral health for the benefit of their overall
health by implementing a daily, three-step 'brush, floss and rinse' routine,"
says CDHA Executive Director Susan Ziebarth. "One year later, we've surveyed
Canadians about their oral health knowledge and found that, as a nation,
there's definitely room for improvement."

    Brush, Floss, Rinse away Gingivitis

    The 2007 Oral Health Report Card reveals most Canadians (64%) claim they
have an excellent oral hygiene routine. Yet while 40 per cent of Canadians
recognize the three-step routine of "floss, brush and rinse with an essential
oil antiseptic mouth rinse" only 21 per cent adhere to it. Research shows
they're missing out on optimal oral health, since this complete routine
reduces and prevents plaque and gingivitis by up to 34 per cent over a routine
without it.
    The disconnect may stem from the fact that while Canadians are familiar
with the term 'gingivitis', the Report Card shows few link the condition to
themselves. Sixty-four per cent believe there's a less than one in ten chance
they have gingivitis, yet the reality is that more than half of Canadians have
gingivitis - inflammation of the gums caused by dental plaque build-up in the
mouth. Left untreated, gingivitis may lead to advanced gum disease, which
potentially impacts the overall health of the body.
    That's where Gingivitis Week comes in - with an aim to educate Canadians
on the symptoms, health implications, prevention and treatment of the

    Mouth a gateway to the body

    "Your mouth is a portal to the rest of your body and many Canadians
continue to be unaware of the links between oral health and overall health,"
says Harriet McCabe, dental hygienist and Professor of Dental Hygiene
Principles and Preventive Dentistry at George Brown College. "Proper oral
self-care practice is about so much more than maintaining healthy teeth - it's
about maintaining a healthy body. That's why it's so important for people to
act now to treat the effects of gingivitis. And the best way to do that is
through a simple - but highly effective - daily routine that includes
flossing, brushing, and rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash. In
well-controlled, long-term studies, LISTERINE(*) was shown to be safe and the
most effective over-the-counter rinse(2), which is why rinsing is confidently
included in the CDHA's Call-to-Action as an essential part of the oral hygiene

    Getting to the heart of the matter

    Research has shown that bacteria originating in the mouth may be a
contributing factor to conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, and that
the oral health of those with pre-existing conditions may be impacted by these
issues. With all these emerging findings on oral-overall health links, it's
startling that two-thirds of Canadians do not realize medical conditions such
as diabetes and heart disease have been linked to periodontitis/oral
    Case in point: People with diabetes may be at greater risk for
periodontal disease. In addition, research shows dental hygiene therapy and
mouthrinse/antibiotic treatment for periodontal disease may help improve blood
sugar levels in diabetics by up to 11 per cent(4).
    "Evidence is mounting of a likely association between periodontal disease
and diabetes," says family physician Dr. Jennifer Malcolm. "Diabetes is a
disease that affects approximately two million Canadians. In light of this, it
is important to educate Canadians about the potential health implications of
oral conditions, and empower people with the information and techniques they
need to ensure healthy teeth and healthy bodies."
    Periodontal disease is also associated with a 19 per cent increased risk
of developing cardiovascular disease. Recent studies indicate people with
higher levels of bacteria in their mouths tend to have thicker carotid
arteries, an indicator of cardiovascular disease(5).
    "It might not seem like an obvious link, but the reality is there can be
a direct correlation between improper oral care and heart disease," says
dental hygienist McCabe. "Gingivitis is both preventable and treatable.
Something as simple as practicing proper oral hygiene not only improves
overall health but may also lower the risk of heart disease."

    About Gingivitis Week

    In addition to the release of the CDHA's national Oral Health Report
Card, this year's Gingivitis Week activities include:

    -   Gingivitis Clinics: LISTERINE(*) and the CDHA are partnering with
        select dental hygiene college programs across Canada to run free
        gingivitis education clinics throughout LISTERINE(*) Gingivitis Week.

    -   Gingivitis Public Service Announcement: Keep your eyes open for the
        Gingivitis PSA, airing on television stations all across English
        Canada starting on June 4. The 30-second spot will amplify the
        Call-to-Action message of oral-systemic links, brushing, flossing,
        rinsing with an antiseptic mouthrinse, and regular dental hygiene

    - LISTERINE(*) is again sponsoring the world's only
        comprehensive bilingual web site dedicated solely to gingivitis
        education -

    -   Gingivitis Week in your area: Dental hygienists across the country
        will be organizing creative gingivitis education programs, thanks to
        the CDHA's new LISTERINE(*) Gingivitis Week grant program. Programs
        include interactive activities at malls in Edmonton and across Nova
        Scotia and seminars for senior citizens in Charlottetown, but log on
        to for more details.

    "As a brand, LISTERINE(*) has been a driving force in creating awareness of
the links between oral health and overall health," says LISTERINE(*) Brand
Manager Rebecca Singer. "What this Oral Health Report Card tells us is that we
need to continue educating Canadians about what can be done to keep their
mouths healthy, for the good of their bodies."

    About the CDHA

    The Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA) is proud to be the
official professional partner of LISTERINE(*) Gingivitis Week. Through
Gingivitis Week, it is the goal of the CDHA to raise awareness of gingivitis
as a condition, and encourage a dialogue between clients and their dental
hygienists. Formed in 1964, the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA)
is the only national not-for-profit organization that represents the voice and
vision of more than 12,500 dental hygienists in Canada.

    About LISTERINE(*)

    LISTERINE(*) Antiseptic Mouthwash is the only non-prescription, essential
oil mouth rinse that is indicated for and recognized by the Canadian Dental
Association to reduce and prevent the progression of gingivitis. LISTERINE(*) is
available in Cool Mint, Fresh Burst, Original and less-intense Cool Citrus and
Vanilla Mint flavours. To whiten teeth, use Whitening LISTERINE(*) Pre-Brush
Rinse follow brushing with Advanced LISTERINE(*), to help keep teeth white.
LISTERINE(*) Tartar Control provides added protection against tartar buildup,
while Fluoride LISTERINE(*) helps prevent cavities. LISTERINE(*) Mouthwashes are
available at retail outlets across Canada.
    LISTERINE(*) Mouthwash is owned and marketed by Johnson & Johnson Inc.
Canada. Johnson & Johnson Inc. is a member of the Johnson & Johnson Family of
Companies, the world's most comprehensive and broadly based manufacturer of
health care products, as well as a provider of related services, for the
consumer, pharmaceutical, and medical devices and diagnostics markets. Johnson
& Johnson Inc. Canada markets innovative products focusing on skin care, baby
care, wound care, oral health and women's health.

    Assignment editors please note - REGIONAL SPOKESPEOPLE AVAILABLE:

    In British Columbia:
    Vancouver: Cindy Fletcher, Executive Director, British Columbia Dental
    Hygienists' Association
    Victoria: Bonnie Blank, President, CDHA

    In Alberta:
    Edmonton: Jacki Blatz, President, College of Registered Dental Hygienists
    of Alberta (CRDHA)
    Calgary: Patty Wickstrom, Past President, CDHA

    In Manitoba:
    Winnipeg: Joanna Asadoorian, Assistant Professor, First Year Coordinator
    School of Dental Hygiene Faculty of Dentistry, University of Manitoba

    In Ontario:
    GTA: Linda McKay, professor, Dental Hygiene, George Brown College
    GTA: Barbara Elliot, Registered Dental Hygienist
    Ottawa: Laura Myers, Registered Dental Hygienist, Director of Education,

    In Atlantic Canada:
    Halifax: Jackie White, Chair, Oral Health Promotions, Nova Scotia Dental
    Hygienists Association

    (*)TM/MC Johnson & Johnson

    (1) 2007 Oral Health Report Card, Decima Research (Mar. 2007)
    (2) Asadoorian, J. Oral Rinsing: CDHA Position Paper on Commercially
        Available Over-the-Counter Oral Rinsing Products. Canadian Journal of
        Dental Hygiene. 2006 July-Aug;40(4):168-83.
    (3) Lux, J. Review of the Oral Disease-Systemic Link. Part I: Heart
        Disease, Diabetes, Canadian Journal of Dental Hygiene. 2006
    (4) Lux, J. Review of the Oral Disease-Systemic Link. Part I: Heart
        Disease, Diabetes, Canadian Journal of Dental Hygiene. 2006
    (5) Lux, J. Review of the Oral Disease-Systemic Link. Part I: Heart
        Disease, Diabetes, Canadian Journal of Dental Hygiene. 2006

For further information:

For further information: to arrange an interview with a dental hygienist
in your area, or to obtain a copy of the Oral Health Report Card please
contact: Elizabeth Goldenshtein, Amy Laski, Environics Communications, (416)
969-2717, (416) 969-2737,,

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