Friday, August 31, 2012

Health Care and a Healthy Smile

Having good teeth and healthy gums provides overall good health, and studies have shown that oral hygiene is critical to maintaining a healthy body. Reports by all dental sources and surveys indicate very strongly that poor dental maintenance leads to poor health and potential fatal results due to infection if not addressed in a timely basis.

According to Consumer Guide for Dentistry, dental hygiene, also known as oral hygiene, is the process by which preventative dental care is provided to avoid dental emergencies. At the core of dental hygiene is the in-home dental care regimen you perform. Your at-home regimen should be supplemented with professional preventative dental care provided by dentists and licensed dental hygienists. While you are responsible for day-to-day dental maintenance, dental hygienists, along with general dentists, family dentists and cosmetic dentists, play an integral role in preventative oral care.

Tooth brushing is fundamentally important, though it alone will not remove the calculus (also called tartar or dental plaque) that builds up over time. Calculus must be removed to lower your risk of toothaches, cavities, periodontal disease or even the loss of all your teeth. By removing calculus, you can reduce your chances of needing root canals, tooth extractions, dental bridges, crowns, and more. Having good teeth leads to good health. You can see more details at this site: http://www.yourdentistryguide.com/hygiene/ .

"Persistent and systemic" barriers continue to block many Americans' access to dental care, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council (NRC) has found. And poor oral health can have dire consequences. According to the report:

• 33.3 million people reside in areas where there aren't enough dental health professionals to meet the population's needs;
• In 2008, 4.6 million children went without needed dental care because their families lacked the financial means to pay for it;
• In 2006, almost two-thirds (62 percent) of U.S. retirees did not have dental health care coverage (Medicare does not cover dental health).

As the experts noted, deteriorating dental health can have broader consequences for overall well-being. For example, poor oral health has been linked to heightened odds for respiratory illness, heart disease and diabetes. Rates of inappropriate use of emergency services also rise for those with poorer dental health. More material about this subject is available at this website: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/managing-your-healthcare/insurance/articles/2011/07/13/millions-of-americans-lack-access-to-dental-care-report .

Modern dental technology has reached a point where saving a tooth is very possible, no matter the condition of that tooth according to Healthy.Net. There are dentists available virtually on every corner with full-page advertisements in the newspapers, yellow pages and even bus benches beckoning the consumer to pay them a visit. There are dental insurances, payment plans at dental offices and dental schools offering low cost dentistry, and discount plans. Yet statistics indicate many people are still not making the routine six month visits to their dentist.

Whether it's due to lack of insurance, fear or other reasons, many individuals wait until there is pain, before making a dental appointment. Prevention is not a hard concept to understand and carry out, once you know the consequences of disease. Preventing disease in the mouth follows the same path as preventing disease in any other organ in the body. With the mouth it’s even simpler since you can see inside the mouth. It is much simpler to detect and treat illness at the early stages than waiting until it has advanced. More info can be found at this site: http://www.healthy.net/scr/Column.aspx?Id=572 .

Discount plans with Aetna, Careington, or other companies allow you to visit a dentist and receive significant savings at the time of service with participating dentists including specialists for oral surgery, periodontal work, orthodontia, and more. Payments as low as $7-$14 a month for a family can be found that provide huge savings between 20% and 60% for most all procedures. A family can save as much as $1200 a year or more using a discount dental plan. You can see more about discount dental plans at www.careington.com .

There are several advantages for consumers:

1.) Nationwide access to providers with no penalty for changing dentists.

2.) No waiting. You can use your plan immediately with any participating provider.

3.) No limit on the amount of work to be done. You can use your plan as often as you need, and the membership rates will typically never increase for your plan.

4.) The entire household is automatically included in your membership.

5.) There are no contracts, and no forms to fill out at the dentist when you use your plan.

6.) You receive immediate savings at the time of service.

7.) Low monthly membership fees.

8.) Discount plans can be used in conjunction with some insurance plans.

9.) You can use your pre-tax flex dollars (FSA/HRA/HSA) to pay for procedures.

10.) You can cancel your plan at any time with no penalties.

Here are some other tips with your dental coverage, according to www.HealthInsurance.org :

• If you already have a dentist you like, make sure he or she accepts whatever plan you are considering.
• If you don’t have a dentist, be a saavy consumer and ask prospective dental offices to provide a summary of fees for exams, bitewing x-rays, cleanings and other procedures you may need.
• Also, ask about the discount they offer to discount plan holders, as discounts can make prices for the same service vary greatly from dentist to dentist.
• As always, do your homework on the Web. It’s an obvious source of plan information and an online dental quote is a great way to predict costs and choose a plan accordingly. You can find and compare multiple dental insurance plans from top-quality carriers at dentalinsurance.org.
• If you do talk to an agent, be sure to ask plenty of questions to ensure that you get the best dental plan for your needs and budget.

Your smile is incredibly important. Make sure you take good care of it with proper dental hygiene and regular visits to your dentist regardless of the plan you have. Remember, your teeth and gums can keep you smiling for a very long time. And when you can save money in the process, you’ll have something to smile about. Visit a dentist on a regular basis, and practice good oral hygiene consistently to maintain your health. Brushing your teeth is the best way to keep your smile and your health.

Until next time.

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