Due to the slumping economy and fears of job losses, many individuals have decided to delay seeking dental care. However, experts say that the decision could lead to many oral health problems, including bad breath.
Avoiding the dentist and practicing poor oral hygiene can lead to many dental complications. This can create conditions that are favorable to the growth of bacteria. These microbes can cause tooth decay, gum disease and halitosis, which, if left untreated, will only worsen.
Arwinder Judge, vice president of clinical support at Aspen Dental, said that, despite the fact that many people may be worried about paying for preventative dental treatments, they often cost less in the long-run than invasive dental surgery that may be needed to fix serious oral problems.
"The current economic environment has forced many Americans to delay seeking dental care, cutting back on everything from cleanings to dentures to treatment of gum disease," he said. "Patients should try to make regular visits to the dentist just as much of a priority as regular visits to their primary care physician."
A recent study sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that many people who do not visit a dentist regularly end up seeking treatment for dental conditions in an emergency room. The report notes that this is not only a waste of healthcare resources, but patients pay on average 10 times more for these treatments than they would have for preventative dental services.
"Ultimately, seeking preventative care and taking care of small dental problems before they become big problems pays off," said Judge.
In addition to suffering with painful and unattractive oral health conditions, those who do not seek regular dental care are at an economic disadvantage. However, this can be easily avoided with preventative care and improved oral hygiene.
Regular visits to the dentist can also help alert individuals to subtler problems like bad breath. Many people experience persistent halitosis without realizing it. Trained oral care providers may be able to recognize this problem and recommend a course of action to prevent it.
One cost-effective method for heading off halitosis that is recommended by many dentists is to invest in a line of specialty breath-freshening products. These mouthwashes and toothpastes are often effective at killing oral bacteria and other causes of bad breath.