This is a story of four kids that grew up with the same mom and dad going to the same dentists. I was one of those kids.
We are still close today even though we’re all grandparents. In our twenties and thirties two of us had access to dental care with insurance or a large enough salary and still enjoy good dental health today.
What happened to those without regular access to dental care? They have full dentures.
Importance of Dental Care
There are many serious health conditions that medical research has linked to oral health. Gum disease can increase blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes and trigger premature delivery in pregnant women. Brushing your teeth twice day can fight heart disease.
Prevention is key to good health including your mouth. Not smoking, brushing and flossing at least daily and healthy eating are important behaviors to have for the best oral health.
Difference in My Family
Why are there such different outcomes in my family with the same middle class upbringing?
I think it boils down to ongoing dental care. The two that had insurance could get their two cleanings a year and nip gum disease and cavities before they became bigger problems.
According to the American Dental Association millions of people don’t have access to dental care for a variety of reasons. The result is a divide in dental health which is really another divide in overall health care.
Make sure you’re taking the best care with your own teeth. If not, make the changes necessary to keep them your entire life. Yes, it may cost more in the short term but you’ll be glad you did.
You can be an advocate for dental care access without donating money. One is to lobby your city to fluoridate the water supply if not already doing so. Encourage local dentists to participate in organizations or events that provide dental care to the underserved.
Lastly, be grateful if you’re among those with good health and access and be compassionate to those without either.
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