If you’ve been putting off seeing your dentist, or you’ve slipped up on scrupulous brushing and flossing, here’s a date to put in your diary.
World Oral Health Day (WOHD) is on 20 March. Make it the day you commit to taking better care of your teeth. (And encouraging your littlies to do the same.)
WOHD is an FDI World Dental Federation initiative. (And the FDI is considered ‘the global voice of the dental profession’.) It may only be one day, but we’ll be championing its cause for the entire month. After all, it’s one of the few occasions where we get to join dentists around the world and shout about the excellent reasons to take charge of your oral health.
Every three years the FDI breathes new life into the WOHD theme. And 2024 marks the first set of fresh messages that will all begin with, ‘A happy mouth is…’
Now we can think of loads of ways to finish that sentence. A happy mouth is:
- one that’s smiling,
- one that’s healthy,
- one that’s chowing down on a chocolatey treat.
But this year, the FDI have gone with:
‘A happy mouth is… a happy body.’
And we couldn’t agree more.
Oral health is a window to your overall health
The mouth is your body’s gatekeeper. We rely on it for many reasons. For example, without it we wouldn’t be able to chew the food or drink the drinks we need to nourish us. We rely on it to produce saliva and bacteria, which can help fight off bugs and viruses. And it allows us to speak and communicate with others.
When it’s working to full effect, it’s one of our body’s greatest natural defence systems. Unfortunately, an estimated 3.5 billion people are affected by oral health diseases. Their mouth is unhealthy, and so their defence system is weakened. And that increases their risk of encountering other health challenges.
Over the past few decades a lot of research has been done on teeth, gums and the mouth. And that research confirmed the links between oral health and other diseases.
For example, the Heart Foundation found that people with gum disease are twice as likely to have heart disease. And a 2021 study discovered that certain bacteria in the mouth could contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
Diabetes, cancer and even birth defects can also be linked to oral health, as we explain in The importance of oral health.
Make a difference in your oral health to improve your general health
As with all health-related stuff, getting the best care means seeing a qualified practitioner and getting a personalised plan. With your oral health, that means making a trip to your dentist. And hopefully you’ll only need to book a dental appointment twice a year.
But if oral care is currently an afterthought for you and your family, there are really simple things you can commit to doing from 20 March onwards.
For example, you can commit to getting into a routine of brushing your teeth twice a day, every day.
And after brushing, make a pledge to floss your teeth. (From experience, we can tell you that the more you do it, the quicker it gets.)
Already on top of your brushing and flossing? Then perhaps understanding the effects of modern living on your mouth, or eating some super foods that support healthy teeth and gums, are extra steps you can take to make your mouth even happier.
5 ways to get involved this WOHD
Wondering what you can do in the run-up to 20 March, or on the day itself? Here are some ideas for how you can join in.
- Book an appointment with your dentist.
- Talk to your children about the importance of good oral hygiene.
- Write a pledge that you’ll brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day.
- Donate to an oral health charity such as Filling The Gap or Dentaid.
- Post on social media. Share a smiley photo or reveal how you’re handling an oral health challenge, which might help someone else.
Use the hashtags #MouthProud and #WOHD23 and tag @worldoralhealthday
Bonus idea: for groups and schools
While WOHD is on the lips (and minds) of many, March is a great time for a dental theme talk at your playgroup, school, club or social meet-up.
If you’d like one of our oral health therapists to come and speak about the importance of dental hygiene at your event or group, let us know. Call the practice on (07) 3130 0297 and let’s get a date in the diary.
Happy World Oral Health Day!
And don’t forget: If you’re in the Yeppoon and Rockhampton area and you need a dentist, come and see us.
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