The release of the 2000 Surgeon General’s report ignited our understanding of the connection between oral health and our overall health. This week, many advocates across the country are honoring Oral Cancer Awareness week by promoting awareness of the issue and educating the public on the importance of oral health.
The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body. This means that when the mouth is not healthy, neither is the rest of the body. Dental decay is a bacterial infection of the mouth which has long term consequences on our health. Poor oral health among kids affects their ability to speak, eat and learn. In the longer term, dental disease has been associated with increased risk for heart disease, diabetes and even oral cancer. The connections between oral disease and oral cancer are well documented. When oral health is compromised, one’s overall health and well-being also suffers. Fortunately, dental disease is almost entirely preventable when public health measures are widely available.
To celebrate Oral Cancer Awareness Week, the Watch Your Mouth campaign has been working with coalition partners to educate their communities and the media about oral health. We congratulate Sharon Mastenbrook, Director of Public Health at Burlington, for speaking up on children’s oral health! Check out her op-ed published in the Woburn Daily Times Chronicle.