Healthy lifestyle

Adopting and maintaining healthy habits starts with the first step, no matter how small. Everything is a question of choice: exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and increasing how many fruits and vegetables you eat. Even the smallest of changes can have big benefits on your health. 

It’s important to be active to have a healthy body and mind. So many of us sit down for most of the day to work at a computer, drive our cars, watch TV, or play video games. But we can learn to take every opportunity to ensure our bodies and minds get the activity they need.

Benefits of exercise

The more you move, the better you feel. Plus, regular exercise can:

  • Minimize the effects of aging.
  • Improve your body image and self-esteem.
  • Decrease symptoms of depression.
  • Reduce the risk of diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes and help control these diseases.
  • Reduce the loss of bone mass, which in turn decreases the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Improve posture and balance, which reduces back pain and the risk of falling.
  • Speed up your return to normal activities after an illness or surgery.
  • Help you control your weight.
  • Promote relaxation.

Exercise recommendations

To get back into or stay in shape, the recommended amount of exercise is at least 30 minutes every day, or almost every day, at a moderate intensity. “Moderate intensity” means exercise that makes you somewhat out of breath. Can’t work out for 30 minutes at a time? Break up your exercise into 10-minute sessions. You’ll be surprised at the combined effect of these short periods of activity. Don’t think you’ll have the time or energy to work out? You don’t have to block off time at the end of your busy day to get your daily dose of exercise. Simply boost your energy throughout the day with a few sessions of 10 minutes each. For example, during your breaks you can go for a walk with your coworkers. If you have health problems, consult your doctor before starting an exercise program. Exercise professionals can help you choose and plan activities that are appropriate for your physical condition. Get moving close to home You can try many sports and recreation activities either indoors or outdoors, by yourself, as a family, or with friends!

Learn more

Helpful documents:

Parents – children

Adults – seniors

Walking

Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. But eating well isn’t just about eating because you’re hungry: it means eating high-quality food to help you stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible.   What does “eating well” mean? Eating well means having a varied and balanced diet, i.e., eating a variety of foods every day to get the nutrients you need for good health.

Canada's Food Guide has suggestions to help you make sound food choices.

The guide recommends that you eat foods from each of the four food groups every day:

  • Vegetables and Fruit
  • Grain Products
  • Milk and Alternatives
  • Meat and Alternatives

Eating well means: 

  • Eating the recommended number of servings from each of the four food groups based on your age.
  • Having fun cooking and eating healthy, whether you’re by yourself or with family or friends.
  • Limiting foods and beverages that are high in calories, fat, sugar and salt (sodium).

Learn more

Quit smoking Do you want to quit smoking? Double your chances by contacting the Quit Smoking Centre in Laval or joining the “Respire-Action” group program. These services are free.

Quit Smoking Centre (QSC)

The QSC in Laval provides personalized help for your needs and concerns along with advice about medication to stop smoking, documentation, and tips to deal with withdrawal and to avoid starting again.

These services are available at our Ambulatory Care Centre and at the majority of CLSCs in Laval.

Who do I contact for these services?

Laval Ambulatory Care Centre

Phone: 450-978-8300 (option 1), extension 13169  

“Respire-Action” group program

If you prefer a group format, the “Respire-Action” program has a different approach that lets you go at your own pace and that is tailored to your goals. Over six meetings, you will learn about typical smoker profiles, withdrawal symptoms, quitting smoking medications, and more.

A number of groups are available during the year. Registration is mandatory.

Who do I contact for these services?

Laval Ambulatory Care Centre

Phone: 450-978-8300 (option 1), extension 13169

Learn more

The health of your teeth and mouth plays an essential role in your general health. You need to watch out for symptoms of gum disease, such as infections and bleeding. Often, these diseases can go undetected and don’t cause pain. They can also cause you to lose your teeth and can contribute to many general health problems.

You need to pay as much attention to your dental health as you do to the health of your entire body.

Here are five recommendations from the Canadian Dental Association (CDA):

  1. See your dentist regularly.
    Professional checkups and cleanings are the best way to prevent dental problems or prevent them from getting worse.
  2. Adopt good oral hygiene.
    You should brush your teeth and tongue at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss every day.
  3. Eat a balanced diet.
    Healthy foods promote good oral health. Too much sugar is one of the main causes of dental problems.
  4. Get your mouth checked regularly.
    You need to watch out for the early signs of periodontal disease (gum disease) and tell your dentist as soon as you notice any symptom you feel is abnormal.
  5. Don’t smoke and don’t chew tobacco.
    Tobacco is one of the main causes of tooth loss due to gum disease. It can also cause serious health problems, such as mouth cancer.  

Learn more

  • See our information:

    • Tobacco does more than stain your teeth

      Your mouth is the first thing that comes into contact with tobacco. The result is that your mouth gets irritated from the toxic substances in smoke and is exposed to the cancer-causing effects of tar, benzenes, nitrosamines and other substances that are harmful for your health. Tobacco can cause mouth lesions in the short, medium or long term.

      • Short-term: stains on your teeth, decreased sense of taste, bad breath, cavities.
      • Medium term: periodontal (gum) disease, gum inflammation from exposure to nicotine.
      • Long term: cancer of the mouth and lips.

      Smoking also extends your healing time after mouth surgery. It is also the biggest factor in the rejection of dental implants. The good news is that this risk decreases if you stop smoking. To help you stop, Quit Smoking Centres (QSC) in Laval can help you through a variety of free services.

      For information: 1-866-527-7383.

      Source: Jean-Guy Vallée, Consulting Dentist, Direction de santé publique, CISSS de Laval

    • Are you pregnant? Tell your dentist!

      It’s best to avoid dental treatment during pregnancy, particularly during the first trimester (when the fetus is forming) and the last trimester (due to a risk of premature delivery). You also need to avoid dental X-rays, as the radiation can harm the fetus. If you absolutely need X-rays, you must protect yourself with a lead apron.

      I vomit every morning. Is this bad for my teeth?

      If you vomit or have gastric reflux, you should rinse your mouth out with water immediately after you vomit. The goal is to prevent your stomach acid from staying on your teeth and eroding them.

      My gums started bleeding since I became pregnant. Is this normal?

      Yes. Pregnancy gingivitis is a type of gum inflammation that can start in the second month of pregnancy. Taking even greater care of your oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) can decrease the harmful effects of pregnancy gingivitis (pain, bleeding).

    • Dental sealants provide more than prevention!

      A dental sealant is a thin layer of plastic applied to the tooth to protect its surface. The top of the molars are the tooth surfaces that get sealants most often. Bacteria and food particles often get trapped in these teeth and cause the majority of dental cavities.

      Getting dental sealants does not require dental anaesthesia or drilling. The dental surface is cleaned and then covered with an acid solution. This creates a rough surface on the tooth so that the sealant can bond. The dentist then hardens the sealant with a light.

      At what age are sealants applied? If dental enamel is prone to decay, the best time to apply sealants is when the tooth first erupts in the mouth. The first permanent molar comes in around the age of 6 and the second at age 12. In addition to getting sealants, how do I prevent cavities? By regularly brushing your teeth, flossing, using fluoride, eating a balanced diet, and seeing your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.

    • Special care for mouth piercing

      Mouth piercings have become very fashionable over the years, but they can also be a health concern. Mouth piercings can cause many complications: infection (from different bacteria in the mouth), swelling, bleeding (the tongue contains many blood vessels); permanent scarring; cracked, fractured or worn teeth; partial or complete paralysis of the tongue; loss of gum tissue covering teeth roots; speech problems; and the swallowing or inhalation of non-secure piercings.

      Tips for the first 14 days after you get a piercing

      • What to do To
        decrease swelling, suck on ice cubes or antibacterial or anti-inflammatory lozenges and eat cold and soft foods at first. Get your piercing regularly checked by a dentist.
      • What to avoid
        Playing with the piercing, kissing, performing oral sex, drinking caffeine, drinking alcohol, taking aspirin, chewing gum or any other object (e.g., a pen), biting your nails and smoking.

    • Dental services covered by the RAMQ

      Did you know? Some services provided by dentists and denturists are covered by the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ). There are three government programs:

      1. For everyone: Oral surgery services in hospitals.
      2. Dental services for children under age 10.
      3. For recipients of last-resort financial assistance and their dependants. Each program includes a list of services that are covered and not covered. For more information, talk to your dentist.

    • Is there a link between asthma and cavities?

      Research shows that children with asthma who use inhalers (Ventolin, Flovent, etc.) have up to a 62% higher risk than other children of getting cavities before the age of 7. Three factors may explain the link between inhalers and cavities:

      1. Decreased salivation, as saliva is a natural tooth cleaner.
      2. Change in the acidity level of saliva.
      3. The presence of lactose in the product.

      Some medications, such as cough syrup, antibiotics and vitamins, contain sugar. It is therefore recommended that you take these medications BEFORE brushing your teeth, or that you rinse your mouth AFTER taking them or AFTER using your inhaler.

    • Do teething babies get tooth decay?

      Not when their teeth first come in. Baby teeth, which generally appear around the age of 6 months, can’t erupt with cavities. However, these teeth can get cavities very quickly if you don’t take precautions:

      • Properly clean your child’s mouth and teeth after a feeding.
      • If your baby falls asleep while feeding, remove the breast or take away the bottle. • Give your child bottles of water instead of sweetened beverages.
      • Do not dip pacifiers in honey or other sweeteners.
      • Teach your child to drink as quickly as possible (and not to sip). 

      The first dentist visit is recommended around the age of 1 year. To check your child’s teeth, simply look by raising his or her top lip. If anything seems abnormal, consult a dentist right away. You may save your child dental work and even general anesthesia.

    • Don’t lose your nice smile along with your teeth!

      When you lose your teeth, you often smile less. Eating and chewing also becomes more difficult. Your appetite decreases, and your digestion becomes less efficient. Swallowing bites whole is really hard on your stomach! The best thing to do is to get good dentures. Whether you have partial or full dentures, they can’t be damaged and they can’t move around in your mouth. Have yours checked periodically and get them adjusted if needed. Dental implants are another option that is now available.

      Watch out for plaque! This thin and almost invisible film of bacteria forms every 24 hours over teeth and dentures. You can’t avoid it: dentures, just like natural teeth, need to be brushed and cleaned every day.

    • Seeing your dentist means peace of mind

      As trusted advisors, your dental team implements a prevention program tailored to your personal risk of dental health problems. They will look at the shape of your teeth, their position, whether they are fragile, what type of bacteria you have in your mouth, and the types of food you eat. How often you visit the dentist will also depend on your personal situation.

      Teeth have to be taken care of starting in childhood. Baby teeth are essential for the development of permanent teeth and children’s overall growth. It’s important to make sure these teeth are properly cared for. Even very young children need to see the dentist regularly, and the recommendation is once a year.

      Your teeth are for life!

    • Mouthguards help you “save face”

      Although mouth guards don’t protect against everything, they can significantly reduce damage to your teeth, injuries to your tongue and gums, jaw fractures, injuries to your jaw joint, and concussions. Mouth guards are therefore highly recommended for many sports, especially contact sports or sports with a risk of falling.

      Two groups of mouth guards are available on the market: premade (which can be adjusted somewhat) and custom-made (taken from a mould of your jaw). A few tips: rinse your mouthguard well after each use, have it checked by your dentist, and choose a colour that is easy to pick out (as transparent ones can be easily lost). 

      Restored teeth and dentures are never as comfortable or as solid as your natural teeth.

  • Preventing Tooth Decay page of the Portail santé mieux-être of the Government of Quebec.
  • Website of the Ordre des dentistes du Québec: Find a dentist and get prevention tips.
  • Website of the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec: List of dental services covered and not covered.