As the calendar turns to October, the arrival of fall brings with it two important observances: Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National Dental Hygiene Month. These initiatives serve to raise awareness of these critical health concerns, and encourage individuals to monitor their health and make mindful lifestyle choices that can help prevent problems before they arise. Early detection is key in achieving successful outcomes for both breast cancer and dental health issues.
To support breast cancer awareness, it is recommended that individuals seek out local and national outreach programs to educate themselves about preventative measures and treatment options. Maintaining overall health can also impact oral health, and vice versa. The American Cancer Society advises women to have breast exams by a physician every three years starting at age 20-39, and annually after age 40. Monthly breast self-exams are also recommended. Eating a balanced diet, limiting alcohol intake, and avoiding smoking are all important lifestyle choices that can help reduce the risk of breast cancer.
October is also a time to celebrate the important work of dental hygienists and emphasize the significance of regular oral health monitoring to catch dental issues at an early stage. Like breast cancer, avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol intake are key preventative measures for oral cancer. Other steps to reduce the risk of oral cancer include avoiding prolonged sun exposure, using sunscreen to protect the skin, wearing lip balm with SPF 30 or higher, and maintaining a daily diet rich in cancer-fighting fruits and vegetables. Routine dental checkups are also crucial in detecting oral cancer, as it can appear on various parts of the mouth and throat.
Daily oral hygiene habits are essential to maintain healthy teeth and gums and prevent oral cancer and other dental problems. In honor of Dental Hygiene Awareness Month, individuals are encouraged to follow the American Dental Association's advice for optimal dental health, including brushing twice daily, flossing once a day, and rinsing with a non-alcoholic mouthwash. Chewing sugar-free gum after meals can also stimulate saliva production, which neutralizes harmful acids and washes away bacteria.
Individuals can work to prevent health issues and detect problems early on when treatment outcomes are most favorable. Daily brushing, flossing, healthy eating, and regular dental checkups can all contribute to a lifetime of healthy smiles. We encourage everyone to prioritize their health this October and always, and we stand ready to support their efforts.