Dental bills can add up, especially if you don’t have a good benefit plan. But fret not, there are ways to reduce your dental bills. If prevention is better than cure, than taking preventive measures while you can is better than fixing poor oral health. Fixing dental caries, periodontal disease, gum disease, chipped or neglected teeth can be expensive. But you don’t have to put yourself in that position; the truth is most oral problems are preventable. Here are some simple yet smart ways to save on dental treatment.
Good Oral Hygiene
Keeping a clean mouth is possible with some due diligence. A mouth given to neglect will encourage bacteria growth, plaque buildup and tartar on the gum line. Ask any dentist (or your mother) and they’ll tell you that oral hygiene is the first line of defense against poor oral health. Brush at least twice a day and floss daily. It’s really that simple!
Many municipal water supplies add fluoride to help oral health. Fluoride works to prevent tooth decay and strengthen developing teeth in children. Using a toothpaste or mouth rinse with fluoride is highly beneficial. Talk to your dentist about your fluoride needs – whether you need fluoride supplements or prescription fluoride products to protect your teeth since everyone is different in their dental needs.
Is your lifestyle ruining your teeth? Do you smoke? Drink too much alcohol? Use chewing tobacco? Sip cola drinks during the day? These unhealthy habits can put your oral health at risks. For instance, tobacco products increase the risks of oral cancer, gum disease, bad breath and tooth discoloration. Too much sugar in the mouth encourages the production of acids and, together with the bacteria in the mouth, they may trigger tooth decay and the beginning of gum disease. Cola drinks are highly acidic and will break down the tooth enamel. The better alternative and the cheaper route to go? Eat a balanced diet, focusing on plenty of vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, whole grains and limit snacking.
Have your teeth cleaned by a hygienist at least twice a year. Personally, this Gettysburg dentist has his teeth cleaned 4 times a year and so, probably, should many adults! Because tartar buildup cannot be removed with regular brushing, professional cleaning is imperative to prevent gum disease. Regular checkups with occasional, digital, cavity detecting X-rays will reveal any beginning dental problems and help the dentist prescribe easy proactive action.Research has shown that poor dental health may be linked to various diseases including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Dentists are trained to spot early signs in the mouth that may indicate disease elsewhere.
An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure is the takeaway lesson. Invest your time and money to maintain good oral health and you’ll never have to worry about spending big bucks in the long run. For more information on maintaining oral health, contact us. If you don't have insurance, we offer an in-house dental plan with significant savings.
Peter Samuels, DDS is a local Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland Dental School.