A few reasons to brave the dental chair

The benefits go way beyond white teeth and a great smile

A warm, bright smile can make a big difference in the way you look and feel. But recent studies show that good oral care is also essential to your overall health and well being.

That’s why it’s important to have regular check-ups and cleanings so you can prevent infections and tooth loss. Your dentist will be on the lookout to:

  • Prevent gum disease
    Your dentist will look for infections of the tissues surrounding your teeth. This type of infection is known as periodontal disease, or gum disease. In its more advanced stage, it’s called periodontitis, which causes damage to supporting gums and bone. If left untreated, it can cause tooth loss.
  • Detect and manage diabetes
    Diabetics are prone to infections, periodontal disease, and halitosis (bad breath); therefore, the presence of these conditions may indicate undiagnosed diabetes. If you already have diabetes, your oral health is more at risk because diabetes slows down healing and increases the risk of infection. In addition, if you are diabetic and have periodontal disease, your blood sugar level could become harder to control.
  • Avoid respiratory illness
    Given how close your mouth is to your nose and throat, bacteria from your teeth and gums can quickly travel to your lungs and trigger respiratory diseases like pneumonia. By getting rid of bacteria, your dentist can help improve your lung function, especially if you already suffer from a respiratory condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Managing the cost

But once you put regular visits to the dentist on your list of health care priorities, how do you manage the cost of that care? You have three options:

  • Pay as you go by setting aside some money every month.
  • Purchase your own individual dental insurance.
  • Enroll in a dental plan if it's offered at work.

Preventing dental problems with good routines at home and regular checkups at the dentist can make a huge difference in your overall health now and in years to come. Even if you don’t have any problems with your teeth and even if you wear dentures, a quick visit to your dentist at least once a year can help you protect a lot more than just your smile.

To learn more about the dental insurance choices available to you at work, check with your benefits administrator.

Sources

American Dental Association: Mouth Healthy, Gum Disease, accessed June 15, 2017, http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/g/gum-disease.aspx.

American Dental Association: Mouth Healthy, Diabetes, accessed June 15, 2017, http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/diabetes.aspx.

American Academy of Periodontology, Gum Disease and Respiratory Diseases, accessed June 15, 2017, http://www.perio.org/consumer/healthy-lungs.

SLPC 24892 06/17 (exp. 06/19)

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