Taking care of teeth reduces costs at the dentist
SUMMARY: Since prevention is the best cure, here are some tips on how to keep your mouth healthy and your pocketbook full.
Posted: November 13, 2013
Many of us may be shopping for dental care these days, but one of the best ways to save money on the dentist's bill is by taking care of your mouth now. Staying diligent on brushing, flossing and rinsing habits could keep thousands of dollars in your bank account down the line.
Take this simple scheme for example. According to a new study conducted by Glasgow University, encouraging nursery school children to brush their teeth in Scotland has saved more than $8 million in dental costs. At nurseries throughout the country, staff offered free supervised tooth? brushing every day to five-year-olds. The program was launched in 2011 and has reduced the cost of treating dental disease in youngsters by more than half between 2001 and 2010.
Fewer children needed fillings, dental extractions or general anesthetics. This means fewer toothaches in kids, less time spent in the dental chair and less headaches for parents who have to shell out the cost.
"This is an amazing achievement and shows just how much can be saved from a very simple health intervention," public health minister Michael Matheson told BBC News.
Sure, that's in the U.K., you might say. But the same principle applies here at home, and across the globe, for that matter. Brushing your teeth each day for two minutes every time kills plaque, which triggers cavities and gum disease, and anaerobic bacteria, which causes bad breath.
It's important to add that gum disease can be indicative of much larger problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. The plaque builds up along the side of the gums, deteriorating the tissue. At the same time, scientists believe the harmful substance gets dislodged and enters the bloodstream. In this way, brushing and flossing can not only get rid of gum disease and bad breath but also protect against underlying health issues.
On average, American families spend $1,000 a year at the dentist - and that's out of pocket. Cavity treatments run anywhere from $70 to $150, a filling can cost $75 to $200 while root canals go for up to $1000. But whether you might be scared of the drill or the bill, there's still reason to smile.
Here are some other ways to keep your wallet full and your smile clean:
• Cut back on soft drinks. These sugary, acidic beverages erode dental enamel and rank as a one of the leading causes for dental caries, or cavities.
• Eat a balanced, healthy diet and avoid between-meal snacking. When you snack throughout the day, the saliva in your mouth doesn't get a chance to neutralize acids, or rinse out bacteria and stray food bits.
• Visit the dentist on average twice a year, even before problems arise. You don't need to wait for tooth pain to call the dentist's office. Go in for regular check-ups.
• Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, and floss once a day.
• Chew gum that contains xylitol. This stimulates saliva production and can help remove stuck food.
• Use alcohol-free mouthwash.
• Swish around water in your mouth after meals to wash out food. When you bite down, do you notice that you don't have gunk in the grooves of your molars anymore?
A lot of times, the simple things can go a long way. No one likes to hear it, but if the problems are left untreated, costs can spiral out of control. If you end up coming across this situation, paying up front at the dentist, scheduling appointments at unpopular times or asking for group discount (the whole family at once) may cut your costs.
Hopefully, all these ideas will make your smile and day a bit brighter.