One all too often overlooked part of a community’s overall health is the quality of dental work available, or the lack thereof. Good dentists are hard to find, yet their services are invaluable. Many studies over the past several decades have shown a connection between poor oral health and other health issues, particularly when it comes to heart issues. This means investing in good dental health up front can pay major dividends in the long run not only for individuals but for the community in general.
Importance of Checkups & Basic Cleaning
The old saying goes that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of treatment. There are many other forms of this saying but they all point to the same truth when it comes to dentistry: good annual cleanings, maintenance, and checkups make a huge difference to create a happier smile. Not only that, but healthier teeth, as well. This regular dental care makes all the difference when it comes to preventing issues in both the short-term and long-term.
Spotting Cavities Early
Spotting cavities early mean minor fillings and stopping the damage before it spreads and becomes much worse. Cavities are relatively easy to treat and inexpensive to treat, as well. Getting fillings early not only helps to stop the damage and strengthen the teeth but also prevents much more expensive and serious dental work down the line. An unusual pattern of tooth issues might indicate bigger problems, so fixing them up early is never a bad move.
Oral Surgery & Tooth Implants
Oral surgery can take many forms, and when it comes to implants these can have a drastic impact on the quality of life of the patient. Someone missing multiple teeth will not only have a harder time talking and chewing but may also eventually be more prone to infections or a weakening of the jaw in areas with missing teeth. These are all negative effects and don’t even get into the issues with things like finding a job or social acceptance.
Better Teeth Mean Better Health & Quality of Life
At the end of the day, better teeth mean better health, and this is an area where small investments by the community up front actually pay off in pretty big dividends. Keeping up oral health goes a long way to better eating habits, better heart health, and better overall quality of life. Don’t discount the quality of life benefit – when depression and anxiety are removed from a person this can have a positive domino effect.
These are just some of the many ways that good community dental care is good for the entire local neighborhood at large.
Few people would argue that community health is an extremely important issue wherever you go. Yet, many people don’t include dental health. That’s really unfortunate and whether it’s from the insurance habit of marking almost all dental work as not being covered because it’s not “mandatory” or because of ignorance of just how many other areas of health that dentistry affects, this is an often overlooked part of community health.
Gum disease isn’t just bad for the teeth but it can lead to other issues, as well. It can further exacerbate any current dental problems a person may be experiencing in addition to opening up people to be more susceptible to various bacterial and viral infections. That means a relatively small issue can possibly turn into a life-threatening one under the right conditions and if left untreated for a long enough time.
This shows why dental health needs to be considered an important and necessary part of any community’s overall health plan.
Connection to Heart Health
There have been multiple studies that show a direct correlation between heart health and dental health. In other words, people with really good teeth tended to have healthier hearts than those that didn’t, but the difference was incredibly pronounced in those who had really bad teeth. In those cases where dental issues and gum disease ran rampant, the patients often have a multitude of health issues and concerns.
This further goes to show that a little bit of dental work can go a long way to preventing massive health issues in the community later.
Much Fewer People Have Access
Because dental care is all to often relegated to the “optional” or less important, fewer people get access. There are many free clinics or mission groups that attempt to bridge some of the gap between available medical services and areas that are short, but far fewer provide dental. This means even when it is available, the demand is very high from individuals and probably more than the volunteers can handle.
Then there’s simply the fact that because of the issues with insurance coverage, or lack there of, in many lower class neighborhoods it can be harder to find quality dental practices in the area.
Don’t Ignore Dental Care
No one should ignore dental issues that pop up. These need to be considered serious issues like more conventional medical conditions. Getting treatment from an experienced and skilled dentist not only results in a better smile but makes a big difference moving into the future, as well.