Oral health care issues and the struggles of solving them
SUMMARY: Many of us struggle to prevent and alleviate oral health issues, but there are a few things that can help.
Posted: January 8, 2013
We all know that having good oral health is important, but many people still find themselves struggling with issues of bad breath. Because oral health diseases can lead to, or are caused by other issues, it's important for people to be aware of what's going on in their mouth.
Oral health and the healthcare system
Dental hygienists are well aware of the dangers of dental diseases, but they are also aware that these diseases can usually be avoided with proper care. However, the people who need dental care the most are often not receiving it. This is where education comes into play. Teaching individuals the importance of a healthy oral care routine, as well as the strong ties between issues in the mouth to issues in the rest of the body, could help people prevent diseases.
In many regions, there is a shortage of dental care practitioners, making wait times long and costs sometimes higher. For individuals who are suffering or cannot afford a high-priced procedure, this can be extremely damaging.
In Minnesota, a new line of dental practitioners were made readily available to help individuals who are in need of basic and restorative services. Dental therapists are in huge need in many areas of the country, but the only state to issue these licenses is Minnesota. The University of Minnesota School of Dentistry's Dental Therapy program is a 2 1/2 year program that allows individuals to earn a degree in roughly half the time, and earn about half the salary. California, Kansas, Maine and New Hampshire are also considering the mid-level providers to offer care to everyone who needs it.
"Many Americans assume that if you have insurance from Medicaid, it means you can get dental care, but that's not true," says Shelly Gehshan, director of the Pew Center on the States Children's Dental Campaign. "Most dentists don't participate, and that means a lot of low-income children and adults struggle to find care."
The lower cost of a mid-level practitioner seems to be a win-win, according to Megan Meyer, 28. As a new valuable member of the dental team, Meyer is able to work on lower level procedures, freeing up time for dentists to do complex work. Because oral care diseases that go left untreated can lead to heart disease and diabetes, many believe this position can help needy individuals get the care they need.
Get healthy without the dentist
The easiest and most efficient way to keep a healthy mouth is to spend time cleaning the teeth and mouth. In addition to using alcohol free mouthwash and SLS-free toothpaste, as well as floss, it's important to use a good toothbrush. Studies have found that using electric toothbrushes clean the mouth much more thoroughly because the heads oscillate, vibrate or rotate - ridding the teeth of plaque and bacteria better than a traditional toothbrush.
However, what you put on your toothbrush matters, too. Oxygenating toothpaste doesn't contain harmful agents, like sodium lauryl sulfate, which is commonly found in toothpaste and causes dry mouth. You may be wondering why toothpaste would cause mouth issues - we wonder that, too. Also, the alcohol in mouthwash causes dry mouth. Not only is this uncomfortable, but dry mouth leads to bad breath. Who wants that?
Many people who suffer from oral health care issues are not aware of the problems, but identifying them early on is very important. If you find yourself suffering from bad breath often seeking immediate care can help prevent larger issues. However, maintaining a strict regimen of healthy habits can alleviate the need for this kind of care.