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Dental Care Makes a Difference

by Kay Lynn

Aaaagh!

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.

Actions

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.

photo credit: Finizio 

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Financial Samurai June 4, 2010 at 6:06 am

Dental care is SO IMPORTANT I agree!!!!

One thing I can’t live without is FLOSS. I floss at least twice a day and sometimes more. I love it and am addicted to flossing! lol.

Besides, I can’t stand bad hygiene. Bleck.
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Only The Poor or Super Rich Say, “Money Can’t Buy Happiness” =-.

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Bucksome June 4, 2010 at 11:46 am

Sam, I with you on the floss. I am picky about the brand though. My husband is not a regular flosser and he has to go in for 4 cleanings a year compared to my 2.

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nyscof June 4, 2010 at 7:13 am

People need to lobby their legislators to STOP water fluoridation. Modern science indicates that dripping fluoride chemicals into people’s bodies via the water supply does not reduce tooth decay but does expose entire populations unnecessarily to fluoride’s adverse health effects. See: http://www.FluorideAction.Net

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Bucksome June 4, 2010 at 11:52 am

Sorry nyscof, but I (and the American Dental Association) don’t agree with you. Flouride has done a lot for reducing dental decay and I think is the number one reason the majority of baby boomers aren’t in dentures. For those that want to read more about it here’s a link: http://www.ada.org/4044.aspx.

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Dr Dean June 4, 2010 at 7:40 am

It is so sad to see young people with terrible dental health. It not only affects their physical health, but also emotionally. It almost always eliminates smiling!

I am with FS about the floss-wish I invented it.
.-= Dr Dean´s last blog ..High Paid Nursing Specialties: Are They Worth It? =-.

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Bucksome June 4, 2010 at 11:47 am

I’m sure as a physician you see it more often than many of us might realize. I didn’t even think about how that impacts the person emotionally.

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Jersey Mom June 4, 2010 at 10:41 am

I agree that on-going care is very important. I actually just had an appointment yesterday to fix 4 of my chipped teeth (which I’ve been putting off for a year). Even with insurance it still cost me $250.
.-= Jersey Mom´s last blog ..Passport to Taiwan 2010 =-.

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Bucksome June 4, 2010 at 11:49 am

Jersey Mom, dental insurance isn’t nearly as robust as medical insurance generally speaking.

My husband teases me because I’ve spent untold thousands on braces, crowns and an implant over the years. But, I have a mouth full of teeth that I plan to take with me to the grave.

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nyscof June 4, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Bucksome. I know that the ADA likes fluoridation. However, science does not support fluoridation’s efficacy and safety. Published research in a recent Journal of the American Dental Association, by J.V. Kumar, reveals statistics which indicate cavity rates are similar regardless of water fluoride levels. But fluorosis increases along with water fluoride levels. the CDC reports that up to 48% of school children sport dental fluorosis – which, as you know, is the outward sign of fluoride toxicity.

After 65 years of water fluoridation, tooth decay is at crises proportions in the US. See http://www.FluorideNews.blogspot.com Americans are dentist-deficient and fluoride overdosed.

2700 professionals (including more than 260 dentists) sent a statement to congress asking for an end to fluoridation because the risk don’t outweigh any purported benefits. See http://www.FluorideAction.Net

Also, 7,000 Environmental Protection Agency scientists and health professionals urge Congress to Stop fluoridation.

Many cities across the US are stopping fluoridation because of many reasons – one of which is that the dental professionals who instigate and promote fluoridation don’t have any relevant information beyond the empty and scientifically indefensible endorsements that you mention

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Bucksome June 4, 2010 at 6:30 pm

I love your passion and information, but am a believer in the benefit of fluoridation. I gave my sons flouride from the time they were born and both have had minimal dental issues. The 24 y/o has never had a cavity and the 29 y/o has had a couple of small ones. I didn’t have the same benefit and had a dozen cavities by their age.

Thank you for giving the other side a voice in this important debate.

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corey June 4, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Dental care is important .We actually need to take care our teeth as we take of our self .We should take care from child hood .We should guide our children a proper tooth brush technique.Proper tooth brushing techniques for children and adults:

#1. Your toothbrush must be angled about 45 degrees to your mouth.

#2. Brushing should take about three minutes. Allot one and a half minutes for the right side and another to the left side of your mouth.

#3. Brushing should be circular in motion, not up and down. To cover all areas of the mouth and teeth, brushing should be done in a counterclockwise method.

#4. Make flossing your daily habit. Studies show that flossing is more important than brushing.
.-= corey´s last blog ..How to Get Instant Credit Cards? =-.

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Bucksome June 5, 2010 at 5:33 am

corey, thanks for the tips on dental self-care. I agree with you that flossing is so important.

For me brushing with an electric toothbrush has made a big diference. Mine has a timer that beeps every 30 seconds so I know when to change quadrants. I know I’m brushing longer and it’s getting under the gums better than I do with a manual brush.

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Jackie June 5, 2010 at 2:15 pm

You are so right about the importance of regular dental care. And the lack of insurance does prevent so many people from access to cleanings, or additional care that they may need. It’s sad. (Although sometimes cleanings are not as much as people think they’re going to cost, especially if you skip the x-rays or do x-rays less frequently.)
.-= Jackie´s last blog ..Slip of the Tongue or Truth in Advertising? =-.

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Bucksome June 6, 2010 at 9:25 am

Jackie, for those that have discrentionary income they should spend it on regular cleanings if they don’t have insurance coverage. For those below the poverty line, we don’t have as many opportunities to receive low or no-cost dental care as we do medical care.

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Lizzie June 6, 2010 at 8:02 am

My sister works at a cardiac surgeons. Did you know if you need heart surgery, you can’t get it until your teeth are fixed? Too dangerous. Take good care of your teeth!
Stopped by from SITS, have a wonderful day.

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Bucksome June 6, 2010 at 9:26 am

Lizzie, thanks for stopping by from SITS. I didn’t know about the prerequisite of good dental health prior to heart surgery but it makes sense. There is so much evidence that cardiac health is directly related to oral health.

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