The Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA) is marking the start of the third annual Listerine Gingivitis Week  (June 5–11) with the release of its first Call-to-Action for all Canadians to improve their oral health for optimum overall health.

“More than 50% of Canadians currently have gingivitis-inflammation of the gums caused by a plaque buildup in the mouth,” says CDHA Executive Director Susan Ziebarth. “Gum disease, or periodontitis, develops from pre-existing gingivitis, and recent research suggests periodontitis may be potentially linked to other systemic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and pre-term, low-birth-weight babies. Gingivitis is both preventable and reversible and is therefore an important health topic to address now.”

Based on a special series of four comprehensive position papers (on brushing, flossing, rinsing, and oral-systemic links), the Call-to-Action not only encourages Canadians to improve their oral health, but it provides them with both the motivation and the specific means for doing so—regular oral health checkups, brushing, flossing, and rinsing with an essential- oil antiseptic mouthrinse. After reviewing the science, the CDHA is hoping to give Canadians the motivation they need to take immediate steps to reduce and prevent gingivitis.

The flossing position paper explored a myriad of alternative flossing aids and found there are numerous viable alternatives to traditional flossing. These alternatives are listed in the Call-to-Action, and include floss holders, picks, and automatic flossers. The position paper concluded that adding an essential-oil antiseptic mouthrinse to an oral hygiene routine reduces plaque buildup and gingivitis by up to 34% over a routine without it.

The series of position papers will run from May to December in the Canadian Journal of Dental Hygiene.

[www.highbeam.com, June 5, 2006]