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Dental Health

A brief introduction to Dental Hygiene by Josie Costantiello, Community Outreach Mobile Dental Hygienist and Samantha Yarwood, Behaviour Services Consultant, Community Living Toronto.

Who amongst us has not felt that sense of dread when a visit to the dentist is imminent? Even simple checkups can be uncomfortable and mildly painful. One part of that experience is knowing that the dentist will Invariably ask the question….do you floss regularly? We even get that little grab bag with all the tools necessary to complete our dental hygiene routine. The dentist is very concerned about our teeth and so should we be.

We had the opportunity to Interview a dental hygienist who provides mobile care for individuals with a developmental disability. Josie has a wealth of experience providing care in all sorts of environments with mild to severe challenging behaviour. 

How Dental Health Affects the Body 

There are many different ways that dental health can affect the body and its wellbeing. Sometimes the mouth can be thought of as a different entity from the body as we go to the dentist for our mouth and the doctor for our body. This separation can cause people to disregard the importance of dental hygiene and how it is connected to many systems in the body. 

Heart disease, stroke, respiratory disorders, diabetes are all related to oral health. The mouth is an opening in our body where bacteria enter leading to cavities, gum disease, and untreated tooth decay. These bacteria can get into the bloodstream and can travel to different parts of the body and multiple organs. This can cause multiple health conditions. It is important to keep up the proper dental hygiene and preventative dental work to keep our teeth clean and healthy. 

For additional resources on the health implications of dental health visit this link by the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario.  

Potential behaviours related to dental problem: 

  • Moodiness 
  • Irritability 
  • Vocalizations of distress or pain 
  • Crying 
  • Facial tension 
  • Sleep issues 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Increase in self-injury (especially to the mouth or jaw) 

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