March 20 is World Oral Health Day. Oral health touches ever y aspect of our lives but is often taken for granted. Your mouth is a window into the health of your body. It can show signs of nutritional deficiencies or general infection. Systemic diseases, those that affect the entire body, may first become apparent because of mouth lesions or other oral problems. Whether you are 80 or 8, your oral health is important. Most Americans today enjoy excellent oral health and are keeping their natural teeth throughout their lives; however, cavities remain the most prevalent chronic disease of childhood. Some 100 million Americans fail to see a dentist each year, even though regular dental examinations and good oral hygiene can prevent most dental diseases. Many people believe that they need to see a dentist only if they are in pain or think something is wrong, but regular dental visits can contribute to a lifetime of good oral health. If you are experiencing dental pain, don’t put off seeing a dentist. With dentistry’s many advances, diagnosis and treatment are more sophisticated and comfortable than ever. You can practice good oral hygiene by always brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, cleaning between your teeth once a day with floss or another interdental cleaner, replacing your toothbrush every three or four months and by eating a balanced diet and limiting between-meal snacks. Don’t forget to schedule regular dental check-ups to keep your smile, and yourself, healthy.
March is National Colorectal Awareness Month. Color ectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum), when discovered early, is highly treatable. Even if it spreads into nearby lymph nodes, surgical treatment followed by chemotherapy is highly effective. In the most difficult cases — when the cancer has spread to the liver, lungs or other sites — treatment can help make surgery an option for many, as well as prolonging and adding to one’s quality of life. Research is constantly being done to learn more and provide hope for people no matter what stage their cancer is in. Most colorectal cancers develop first as polyps, which are abnormal growths inside the colon or rectum that may later become cancerous if not removed. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the US, and the second leading cause of cancer death. It affects men and women of all racial and ethnic groups, and is most often found in people 50 years or older. However, incidence in those younger than 50 is on the rise. Colorectal cancer has few, if any symptoms early on. If you notice change in bowel habits, diarrhea, constipation, a change in the consistency of your stool or finding your stools are narrower than usual, persistent abdominal discomfort, bloody or black stools, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting, check with your provider. Visit https://www.ccalliance.org/about/awareness-month to see if you are at risk.
The third week in March is National Poison Prevention Week. The Poison Control Hotline number is 1-800-222-1222. Save this number in your phone. Post it on your fridge, in the bathroom, laundry room, anywhere obvious. Now. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Visit https://www.emedicinehealth.com/poison_proofing_your_home/article_em.htm#poison_proofing_your_home_introduction for tips on poison-proofing your home. Most homes have several items we don’t think of as poisonous that can be. Things such as household cleaners, some plants, fertilizers, lotions, soaps, paints, medicines, nail polish remover, bug spray, invisible fumes (car exhaust, gas fumes, carbon monoxide) are toxic.
“Two people read the same Bible. One sees reasons to love, the other reasons to hate. One sees unity, the other division. One finds prejudice, the other equality. Once discovers compassion, the other indifference, one goodwill, the other malice. Two people, one book, two views. The book is a mirror. The reflection is you.” – Unknown
Christy Friedel, R.N.,
Parish Nurse, Spiritual Director