Brush up on your dental hygiene for Oral Health Month2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
For the past two years, dental health may have taken a backseat for many in Waterloo Region, with residents focused on the collective effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Oral Health Month in Canada is a reminder to get back on track with our dental hygiene routines. Good oral hygiene habits like brushing, flossing, and regular visits with a dentist positively affect overall health.
“At the beginning of the pandemic there was hesitancy to attend appointments,” said Dr. Karen Baird, a dentist at Public Health’s Waterloo dental clinic. “But with all the precautions that dental offices have in place, it makes it a very safe environment.”
Dental offices in Ontario are required to have strict infection prevention and control standards in place, determined by the Royal Canadian Dental Surgeons of Ontario. With COVID-19, the standards have increased to include special air filtration units, changing gowns between patient visits, the use of respirator masks and face shields.
“It was a lot to get used to at first, but now that we are, I wonder how I used to function without all of this before,” Dr. Baird said, also acknowledging these new tools help to prevent other kinds of infections besides COVID-19.
Dr. Baird’s number one oral health tip is not to put off routine cleanings and preventative appointments. “It is better to get in there and find something that is small, not wait until you are in pain. Dealing with things early is often less expensive and can save teeth.”
For those facing financial barriers to dental care, Region of Waterloo Public Health can help make connections to provincial and regional support programs:
- Healthy Smiles Ontario is a free program for eligible children ages 17 and under.
- Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program is available to low-income Ontarians over 65.
- Free first dental visits are available for all babies under one year of age. These appointments provide early support and help lay the foundations for children to have a positive relationship with their oral health.
Visit Public Health’s dental health page for more information on our programs and resources to support your oral health.