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Event recognizes importance of oral cleanliness

As part of National Oral Health Month, Harbour City Dental Hygiene is hosting Dental Awareness Day April 30 beginning at 9 a.m. at Christ Community Church, 2221 Bowen Rd.

Free dental screenings and fluoride treatments are available to people between the ages of two and 19.

Proper dental care is vital to overall health because it was once believed tooth loss was the worst outcome of gum disease.

But now, experts know that oral health matters from head to toe. Gum disease has been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, lung infections, increased risks during pregnancy and it has complications for those with osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Gum disease increases your risk of heart attack and stroke by two to three times and is considered a chronic low-grade infection that results in an inflammatory response from your body.

“Chemicals that are released in response to inflammation circulate in your bloodstream and cause the linings of your artery walls to become rough and irritated,” said Heather Cooper, dental hygienist at Harbour City Dental Hygiene. “This then allows the arteriosclerotic plaque to accumulate more easily.”

Gum disease can also initiate a case of Type 2 diabetes. Chronic inflammation also makes it more difficult for your body to regulate the blood glucose levels present and can bring on a diabetic response. Diabetes also contributes to uncontrolled gum disease as a result of decreased immune function.

Pregnant women with gum disease are seven times more likely to deliver premature or low-birth weight babies.

“The chemicals released in response to inflammation mimic the natural labour inducing hormones and can result in the early delivery of your baby,” said Cooper.

“A premature baby can be at risk for many health problems as a result.”