Your teeth matter. Your dental hygiene is about more than just making you look good — though it certainly is great to know that you have a good-looking smile. Caring for your teeth keeps your mouth healthy and ready to work properly for you. And dental hygiene is connected to your physical health, too. There’s even a connection between better dental hygiene and a reduced risk of serious illnesses such as heart disease. Scientists are still working to understand what, exactly, the nature of that connection is, but it’s clear that dental health is an important part of your overall health.
Yet many Americans don’t go to the dentist every year. Why is that? Some studies suggest that it’s about access and economics. Not everyone has dental health insurance coverage, and some people have trouble affording a trip to the dentist — or perhaps believe that it’s a smart place to save a few bucks.
Income inequality is a real problem in America, but make if you can afford to head to the dentist, you should. That’s because receiving regular dental care will actually save you money in the long run. Here’s how.
Long-term problems emerge when you don’t care for your teeth
Going to the dentist costs a bit of money, but not going will eventually cost you more. When you fail to take care of your teeth properly, you invite more serious dental problems. Some of these can be painful and can seriously affect your quality of life — or even your ability to eat. When that time comes, you’ll have to come into the dentist’s office whether you like it or not. And if you think a teeth cleaning appointment is pricey, you’re not going to be happy with the bills for more serious procedures.
Issues like gum disease can even mean losing your teeth. And when you teeth go, they don’t take your dental hygiene responsibilities and expenses with them. No, you’ll just have to worry about the cost of dentures instead.
Investing in your dental health
You know what is cheaper than dentures and cavity fillings? A teeth cleaning at your dentist. You should have a regular checkup and cleaning appointment at least once a year.
Along with proper personal dental hygiene, regular visits to your dentist can set you up for better long-term dental health. When your dentist gets a look at your teeth regularly, he or she can spot problems when they’re still small — or even before they happen. Prevention and quick fixes are a whole lot more affordable than the sort of big-time procedures you’ll deal with if you don’t care for your teeth regularly.
What can you do at home to care for your teeth? You should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day, for starters. Use fluoride toothpaste when you do. Floss at least once a day.
What you eat, drink, and smoke can affect your teeth, too. As you might expect, dentists recommend that you not smoke and drink alcohol only in moderation. And be mindful of your sugar intake, because sugar can wreak havoc on your teeth.
Doing your best to get proper care on a budget
Financial realities are what they are, but we should each strive to get the proper dental care that we need and deserve. Try to get insurance coverage that helps you out with dental appointments, and remember that, whatever you pay, you’ll generally save money by caring for your teeth properly. Don’t be shortsighted about your dental health and spending: if you invest in your dental health now, you’ll get to save money and enjoy a healthier smile, too!