Dental Insurance Doesn’t Guarantee People Will Take Care of Oral Health

A new study from the University of Maryland found that having dental insurance doesn’t guarantee that people will actually take care of their oral health!

The study looked at data from 2008 that concerned older Americans. Researchers looked at lots of variables including age, health, marital status, gender and race. They discovered that providing dental insurance to people who didn’t have it, did not improve the likelihood that they would visit the dentist. Getting these people to the dentist required more than insurance, it required educational outreach to teach them the importance of good oral health.

A lot of people who don’t maintain their oral health use lack of dental insurance as an excuse. What most people don’t realize is that preventative dental care is very affordable, even without dental insurance. While fees for various dental procedures vary widely across the US (usually higher on the East and West coasts and lower in the midwest) a simple dental cleaning is surprisingly affordable.  Dental care gets expensive when small problems are not discovered in time and grow to become big problems.

For example, a small cavity forms in a back molar and grows, undiscovered, until it begins to hurt. In the beginning, this small bit of tooth decay could have been resolved quickly and inexpensively. Because the cavity was allowed to grow and deepen, it has now affected the inner portion of the tooth and may have lead to an infection. An infected tooth can only be treated by root canal therapy and after a root canal a tooth will require a dental crown. That little bit of decay has now ballooned into an expensive series of treatments! Same thing happens with gum disease – left untreated it will only get worse and can eventually result in tooth loss and even bone loss in the jaw. Regular dental visits can help us avoid these situations.

Most people who read my blog understand the importance of good oral health, especially since study after study has shown links between poor oral health and a range of maladies from heart disease to cancer. Good oral health can save you health care dollars, both in terms of dental care and in terms of your systemic health.

Take care of your oral health, whether you’ve got insurance or not, by contacting Dr. John Highsmith in Clyde, NC today at 828-627-9282. Get on track to make 2014 the healthiest year possible!

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Posted in: Oral Health, Periodontal Disease

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