April is Dental Health month in Ontario. April is also Daffodil Month – dedicated to fundraising for the fight against cancer.
According to Wikipedia, as months go, April has at least 151 celebrations, commemorations and designations globally. Some are curious such as National Cleavage day , some grave like Victory in Europe Day and some dedicated to silliness like April Fool’s Day.
Our need to designate specific ideas, activities, holidays and commemorations to each month is based on creating a ritual; a habitual memory of those things that are important to us. If they have a dedicated month, then we are likely to remember them.
Yet, in spite of it being Dental Health month, the mouth is the most forgotten body part. Oral cancer is even more forgotten. Somehow we do not think of the mouth other than for appearance (whitening) and social acceptability (bad breath, halitosis, fetor oris).
Milestones in life are related to anniversaries – birthdays, graduations, marriages, passings and other achievements. Each has specific changes and activities associated. The mouth has similar rites of passage. As an infant your parents anxiously await the first tooth, then the first adult tooth. As a young adult you may wonder about your wisdom teeth. At each stage your oral health requires different professional interventions to maintain optimal health. These are things we just can’t do for ourselves.
Our mouths, like our bodies in general, will show the signs of aging. A friend very astutely says that she has earned very line and wrinkle. So to with our mouths – they’re similar. They earn their conditions and with age certain risks increase.
Let’s use April’s Dental health month as a yearly milestone to remind us to see our dentists to minimize the risk of oral cancer and ensure optimum health!