TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - March 30, 2016) - It was estimated by the Canadian Cancer Society that 4,400 people in Canada were diagnosed with oral cancer last year. Chances are it was a dentist who first noticed the subtle changes in their patient's mouth that led to a diagnosis. Oral cancer can be successfully treated if caught at an early stage and your dentist plays a role in its detection and prevention.

In light of the Ontario government's recent moves to further strengthen its smoking laws and its Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy, Ontario's dentists are using Oral Health Month to reinforce the message that tobacco use -- cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco -- can lead to a high risk of developing oral cancer and other dental diseases. Dentists also want to reaffirm their role in helping their patients quit.

"Every day in Ontario, dentists help patients quit smoking through knowledgeable support and encouragement," says Dr. Victor Kutcher, President of the Ontario Dental Association. "Dentists can also prescribe stop-smoking medications, where helpful, and explain the oral health and overall health benefits of quitting."

Deciding to stop smoking is the best decision you can make for your health, and your dentist can help improve your chances of success. Dentists play a key role in protecting your oral health, and they are also a valuable asset in the battle to quit smoking.

As the experts in oral health care, dentists can easily spot the damage tobacco does to the mouth and teeth -- smokers tend to suffer from bad breath, stained teeth and dry mouth. People who smoke are also three times more likely to have severe periodontitis (gum disease) than non-smokers. Oral diseases associated with smoking are more obvious to the eye than other conditions and allows dentists to easily identify patients who use tobacco -- and start the conversation about quitting. That's one of the many reasons why it's important for smokers -- and everyone -- to make the time to see their dentist regularly.

"Quitting tobacco is a difficult thing to do, but every attempt you make to quit is one step closer to success," says Dr. Kutcher. "Talk to your dentist about your options -- you don't have to go through it alone."

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Contact Information:

Bonnie Dean
ODA Public Affairs and Communications
416-922-4162 ext. 3314