Dental care is the most common unmet health need. Oral disease can severely affect systemic health.
Poor oral health is so important and commonplace:
- dental cavities are the most common chronic disease of childhood (5 times more common than asthma) and
- affects 50% of low-income children.
- Severe gum disease affects 19% of adults aged 25-44.
- 30,000 oral cancers diagnosed yearly.
- Oral health is important during pregnancy, too, as gum infections during pregnancy may cause premature labor.
- There is strong evidence that gum disease and diabetes may be linked.
What to do?
See a dentist twice a year for preventive exams, more often if needed. For a less expensive dental option, search for nearby dental schools or dental hygienist programs to perform your exam.
Limit sugary snacks. Increase the time between sugary snacks so the tooth can heal.
Brush twice daily beginning as soon as teeth erupt. (Bedtime is most critical due to decreased nighttime salivary flow). Spit out fluoride, do not rinse. This will increase topical fluoride exposure.
Take care of those pearly whites!