Last week I had about a $1,000 worth of dental work done. That’s a lot of money to fix one cracked filling. But when I think of the overall cost of doing nothing I’d spend whatever it took to not only stop the pain but also improve my overall health. For years I prided myself on having excellent teeth. I would go to the dentist and they couldn’t find anything wrong with my mouth. So imagine my shock and horror to find out not only did my 21-year-old filling need replacing but during the root canal I was told that the entire cavity was infected. So grateful it was discovered before it spread to some other part of my body.
Like a good patient I filled the prescription for the anti-biotic I was given and finished them all to ensure the infection was dealt with. Then I did some research and found out I had become lazy in my oral care and that it can put my overall health in jeopardy. Gum disease and infections in the mouth can spread through the bloodstream and cause damage in the heart. There is also a link between gum disease and premature birth and low birth weight. Can’t say I’ve ever brushed my teeth for 2-3 minutes and I very seldom brushed more than once a day and I only flossed when something was stuck in my teeth. But now I am highly motivated to do this and more. I’m making some changes that you may want to look into making as well.
- Brush at least twice a day: In the morning and before bed or after eating foods that can stain the teeth.
- Floss daily: Food stuck between the teeth at the gum level can rot and cause harmful bacteria to grow.
- Don’t forget to brush your tongue: Odor causing bacteria can hang out and grow on your tongue.
- Prioritize your Oral Care: Just like watching what you eat and exercise help improve your health and fitness level. Proper oral care completes your wellness plan and ensures your other efforts are not in vain.
The Little Things You Can Do Today
1 . Get Dental Coverage. If your anything like me I would save money by canceling my dental coverage. But since you never know when you will have a dental emergency it’s wise to keep your coverage. About half of what I paid was covered by insurance. Without it I would have had to continue suffering until I had the cash.
2. Invest in an Electric Toothbrush. Most people do not brush long enough. There are toothbrushes with timers that will let you know when your time is up. They will also tell you if you are brushing too hard and when to replace the head. Of course you can buy a soft bristle brush and set a timer but the electric toothbrush will help you be consistent and it will more than pay for itself.
3. Schedule regular Dental Checkups. Yearly checkups and cleanings are a small things that go a long way toward staying on top of your dental health.
Until Next Week,
Nicole D.P. McLaughlin, PT
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