Why is Dental Care So Important?
As of 2020, 3.2 million Virginia residents did not have dental insurance. On top of that, according to the Virginia Health Care Foundation, only 67 Virginia localities have no dental safety net provider. Those are very concerning numbers for any dentist in the Virginia area. Not only is dental care one of the most overlooked aspects of our healthcare, but it can lead to serious complications if not taken care of.
We often hear:
“But why is dental health so important? I brush and floss every day, what’s the worst that could happen?”
Brushing and flossing are a very important part of dental health, but so are check-ups and regular cleanings. These aspects of oral hygiene are the ones we most leave to fate. But just because it doesn’t hurt right then, doesn’t mean that damage isn’t happening.
So… Why does oral hygiene matter?
Smiling Increases Confidence
A healthy, winning smile is often the first thing that our friends, family, peers, and coworkers see. When you prioritize your dental health, you don’t have to hide behind closed lips and silent nods. Smiling increases the dopamine and serotonin levels in your brain.
But smiling doesn’t only affect you! There’s also a carryover effect that makes others around you feel better and the reward center of your brain is activated by seeing someone else smile. It’s like the gift that keeps giving.
Smiling can also affect your work performance. Additionally, research shows that,
“Happiness also boosts activity in areas of the brain that handle decision-making, learning, and processing.”
Regular Cleaning and Check-ups Save Time
We know life is challenging. Over the last year, we have dealt with scheduling issues like working from home or going back to the office. Kids are now doing online days and it can be hard to find childcare. All of this is on top of just normal, everyday activities.
Dentist appointments tend to take the back seat when scheduling issues occur because the health of our teeth and mouth isn’t an immediate need until it’s too late and the pain starts.
Keeping those appointments can be a huge time saver, though! With normal cleaning and check-up, most patients are out the door and on their way pain-free and in a relatively short amount of time.
When you wait to go to the dentist until the pain starts, this can lead to more complicated treatment like fillings, root canals and crowns, or even extractions and partial dentures or bridges!
These kinds of treatments can take weeks to complete and multiple visits, resulting in more expensive treatment that take much longer to complete than routine care.
Preventative Care Saves Money
Dental check-ups and cleaning are our first lines of defense when it comes to mouth health. These appointments aren’t just to check it off the list or waste time and money, but they are designed as preventative care to SAVE time and money!
Today many insurance plans automatically cover the costs of teeth cleaning. Even insurance companies understand that it is cheaper to play for cleanings now than major treatments later!
And the cost is evident. With regularly scheduled cleanings, dentists can detect problem areas before they become major problems. Tiny spots of decay can be removed and filled fairly quickly and painlessly.
However, if check-ups are put off, then problems aren’t caught until they become issues. The pain of a cavity, jaw pain, and headaches from misaligned bites, abscessed teeth. A small cavity is much easier to fill than a huge cavity that develops an abscess and needs a root canal and potentially a crown.
Preventative check-ups and cleanings can save thousands of dollars over the years!
Your Tooth Health Can Affect Your Overall Health
Finally, what many people don’t realize, is that your tooth health also affects your overall health and can lead to some quite dangerous situations.
According to Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General,
“A thorough oral examination can detect tooth decay as well as signs of nutritional deficiencies, systemic diseases, immune disorders, injuries, and some cancers.”
There had been numerous studies that show that oral health can affect many different aspects of our overall health. People have been known to suffer:
– Heart Attacks
– Clogged Arteries
– Premature Births
– Low Birth Weight
– Kidney Disease
The above list is only some of the major complications that can result from poor dental hygiene. Periodontal disease, or tooth decay that is left unchecked and untreated, is the most common cause of the above complications, and it’s also easily preventable.
Regular cleanings and oral examinations can help to prevent these conditions from ever occurring.
What Can I Do to Improve My Dental Care?
The first thing you can do is to brush and floss your teeth at least two times a day for two minutes. This helps cleanse the mouth of daily build-up and bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and poor dental health.
The second is, DON’T WAIT! If it has been a while since your last check-up, go ahead and schedule one now so, together, we can get you started on an individualized treatment plan.
At Lans Family Dentistry in Ashburn, Virginia we strive every day to provide affordable, top-quality dental care in a relaxing atmosphere.
As always, Dr. Lans, our staff, and our associates are here to answer all your questions about your dental care and be your trusted partner in superior oral and dental health.