NHM Health Focus:
The American Dental
Hygienists' Association (ADHA) sponsors National Dental Hygiene
Month to increase public awareness of specific dental hygiene-related
issues and to recognize the contributions dental hygienists make as
they reach out to their communities. This year the focus of National
Dental Hygiene Month is "Adolescent and Teenage Oral Health."
The ADHA suggests that smoking, piercing, breath mints, carbonated and sugared drinks, sports mouth guards, nutrition and eating disorders can all have a negative impact on teen dental hygiene by allowing periodontal bacteria "to enter the blood stream and travel to major organs and begin new infections. Research is suggesting that this may:
- Contribute to the development of heart disease.
- Increase the risk of stroke.
- Increase a woman's risk of having a preterm, low birth weight baby.
- Pose a serious threat to people whose health is compromised by diabetes,
respiratory diseases, or osteoporosis."
Academy of Periodontology)
We also know that:
- "Mouth and throat diseases, which range from cavities to cancer,
cause pain and disability for millions of Americans. This fact is
disturbing because almost all oral diseases can be prevented."
- "Tooth loss has more than cosmetic effectsit may contribute
to nutrition problems by limiting the types of food that a person
can eat." (CDC)
Avoiding tobacco products, spending a few minutes after each meal on
dental hygiene, and selecting healthy foods have been shown to improve
both current and future quality of life. Check Behind
Your Smile, for information on your mouth and teeth. For more detailed
and technical information please see the Merck
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum has these resources related to dental health: