Experts agree that your oral health is a window to your overall health. A general examination of your oral health can give clues to the state of the rest of your body. Indeed, not only can oral health indicate problems elsewhere in the body, because the mouth is an entry point for the digestive and respiratory tracts, it can allow in bacteria which can lead to disease. Studies have shown that there is a link between endocarditis, cardiovascular disease, pregnancy and birth complications and pneumonia, and your oral health. The implication is that preventive dental care is important not just for your oral health, but for the good of the rest of your body. One study found that preventive dental care is associated with lower costs for patients with chronic conditions. It is also associated with fewer emergency room visits, and lower rates of hospitalizations. In this article, I will share some things on how preventive dental care impacts your health.
What is Preventive Dental Care?
Firstly, let’s explain what we mean by “preventive dental care”. What this means is going for semi-annual checkups and routine care. It typically involves, at least in terms of your visits to the dentist, oral exams, teeth cleanings, X-rays, and fluoride treatment for kids. Several healthcare plans give incentives for enrollees to encourage preventive dental care practices, so that enrollees reduce their risk of needing future restorative work and reduce their out-of-pocket costs. For instance, an insurer may have a rewards program so that enrollees who receive a threshold number of preventive dental care treatments in a plan year, receive some kind of incentive, such as a copayment reimbursement.
Preventive dental care isn’t just about the dentist’s office. At home it consists of a daily regimen of brushing and flossing your teeth and eating a good diet, rich in calcium, vitamins A, D and K2. Although it is important to brush your teeth after meals and floss at least once a day so you can prevent cavities and gum disease, your diet plays a very important role in preventing dental problems as well as repairing damaged teeth. It is also important to reduce your intake of sugar and drink lots of water, to combat cavities and promote oral health. It also requires you to live in a comfortable home environment with fresh air circulating thanks to a Platinum Comfort Solutions A/C unit.
Although it is important to eat right, and brush and floss on a daily basis, you still need to visit your dentist on a semi-annual basis, so that you can detect emerging dental, or even medical problems before they become serious. Early detection means that the problem is smaller, less complex and the treatment less invasive, less costly, and less risky. The longer you leave problems, the more complex, and dangerous they become, and the greater the impact on your health and pocket. Many dental insures are aware of this and have developed policies to try and encourage enrollees to be more aggressive in their use of preventive dental care. There is evidence that simply having dental coverage encourages people to be more proactive with their preventive dental care.
Certain classes of people are more at-risk than others, including those with diabetes and pregnant women. For instance, diabetics have higher instances of gum disease and other dental problems such as dry mouth and thrush, which can lead to ulcers, soreness, cavities and infection. Regarding expectant mothers, half of pregnant women get pregnancy gingivitis. Dentists recommend that expectant mothers schedule additional cleaning to manage instances of pregnancy gingivitis. Many insurers offer additional cleaning at a lower cost, to encourage at-risk populations to get more cleaning done. If you are an expectant mother or diabetic, you should make sure you get on a dental plan that offers such incentives for you.