LTE: Teeth Are No Place to Cut Corners
Dental program manager urges residents to care for their teeth and see the dentist.
In these tough economic times, many of us are looking for ways to cut corners and save money. No amount of money is worth sacrificing your health, however, and that includes oral health. We would like to remind your readers that brushing, flossing and maintaining regular visits to the dentist not only helps keep your smile healthy, but can ultimately save you money as well.
Dental-related illnesses cause adults to lose more than 164 million work hours and children to lose more than 51 million school hours each year. This time and money could be saved by simply brushing and flossing every day, avoiding tobacco use, eating healthy foods and scheduling regular dentist appointments for preventative care. Research shows that oral health is tied to overall health, with gum disease linked to premature birth, stroke and heart disease, so those visits to the dentist can also help prevent costly doctor visits in the future.
Good oral health practices should start from an early age, but according to a survey commissioned by Oral Health America, a national, non-profit organization, kids may not be getting that message as much as we think. Although 69 percent of parents surveyed said they remind their children on a daily basis to brush their teeth, only 34 percent of children surveyed recall getting daily reminders. While schools can help teach kids the importance of good oral health as well, not every student receives this information, especially as they get older. The survey showed that while 65 percent of elementary students learned about oral health care in school, only 36 percent in middle school and 19 percent in high school students learned about oral health care.
Children learn best by example, which means that as adults, we need to take care of our teeth in addition to teaching children how to properly take care of their own. Oral health affects a child’s ability to learn in school and can impact future employability. By making good oral health a family matter, we can maintain healthy smiles and avoid costly medical and dental bills at the same time.
Dental Program Manager
Loudoun Community Health Center