Cut Costs For Dental Care Without Sacrificing Your Oral Health

Posted on Jun 28, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Times are tight right now. With the price of gas, food and about everything else, budgets are more strained than ever. Although the brunt of the pandemic is mostly behind us, it has left us with an economy that is creating a “pinch” for just about everyone.

Some things we can cut back on, and probably should. Now is a good time to relook at expenses for indulgent coffee drinks, dining out, fast food runs, pricey cable TV packages, and unattended electrical usage.

Then, there are things we cannot and should not try to cut back on; one being dental care.

Certainly, we would never want to avoid the investment made in maintaining good health. Everyone knows it is far less costly, in many ways, to prevent problems or catch those that do occur at early stages. For example, having periodic mammograms or prostate checks are sound ways to find problems that may become major ones.

The goal of each individual is to live a healthy life at every age. Your smile’s health is actually a bigger part of your overall health than you may think. The findings of research continually shows that the bacteria in your mouth can greatly affect how the gut functions and how certain serious diseases and conditions can be triggered or worsened by infectious oral bacteria of gum disease.

The list of correlations between gum disease bacteria and health problems far beyond the mouth is a vast one. These include some cancers, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies, erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure and more.

But, how are people to handle the expenses of dental upkeep during trying times? The best way, like anything that can challenge is the body, is through prevention.

The goal is to keep bacteria levels in the mouth to a minimum. Below are tips on how to keep your oral health in good condition and lower the risks to teeth and gum tissues.

Brush: The gold standard is twice a day for a minimum of two minutes using a soft bristle tooth brush and tooth paste with fluoride. However, some people need to brush more often during the day, depending on what they eat or drink. At the end of brushing, brush your tongue to dislodge oral bacteria that are embedded there.

Floss: This can have a tremendous effect on controlling oral bacteria. Our hygienist can help you with your technique or you may wish to purchase an electronic water flosser. Water flossers can be even more effective than manually flossing your teeth because they can wash away bacteria from just underneath the gum line.

Keep a moist mouth: Drink plenty of water during the day and minimize colas, tea, coffee and energy drinks. These beverages contain high levels of caffeine, which has a drying affect on oral tissues. Also drying is alcohol and smoking. Tobacco smoke contains a heavy dose of toxic chemicals that are readily absorbed by moist gum tissues.

Citrus  and acidic foods and beverages: The acidity in citrus (such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit) can be tough on tooth enamel and tender gum tissues. This also includes tomatoes and tomato-based foods such as spaghetti sauce, catsup, salsa, etc. that can have a highly acidic effect.

Sugar and carbohydrates: Globally, Americans are the leading nation for sugar consumption. We also love our carbs, which essentially break down as sugar in the mouth. Oral bacteria love these foods, too, because they supercharge their ability to reproduce. Because many sweet and carb-laden foods stick to teeth longer, their ability to cause damage is even greater.

Wine: Although wine (especially red) is believed to be a healthy drink, it is the way it is consumed that makes it a particular problem for teeth and gums. Whenever you eat or drink something, an acid attack begins in the mouth. While this is an initial part of digestion, this acid is highly potent; so much that it can soften tooth enamel for up to 30 minutes after. This makes teeth more prone to decay. Because most people drink wine in sips over time, this merely extends the acid surge period. When wine’s acidity combines with digestive acids in the mouth, you place teeth at a doubly higher risk for decay. (This also applies to any alcoholic beverage, especially drinks with sweetened mixers.)

Snacking: Whenever you eat or drink anything (other than plain water), an acid attack begins in the mouth. This acid flows in with saliva and helps to begin the digestive process. However, this means for every sip of cola or granola bar bite, an acidic flow occurs in the mouth for 20 – 30 minutes. When the mouth endures these frequent acid attacks throughout the day, the damage to precious tooth enamel can lead to cavities.

In addition to a thorough at-home routine, be committed to your 6-month exams and cleanings. These visits rid the build-up that has occurred since your last appointment and catches problems while they are easy to treat.

When you take these easy and inexpensive actions to prevent problems, your oral health costs can be lower and you’ll save time AND money!

It is also important to know the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease. These include: gums that bleed when brushing, frequent bad breath, tender gums that turn red in color, swollen gums, receded and sensitive gums. If you have any of these, please know that gum disease will only worsen without treatment. It is also the leading cause of adult tooth loss.

As a specialist in periodontics, our Asheville periodontal dental office provides advanced skills in the diagnosis and treatment of all stages of periodontal disease. We use advanced technology to help provide the most conservative treatment possible while restoring patients to optimal oral health. We also provide oral and I.V. sedation (twilight sleep).

To arrange a consultation, tap here or call 828-274-9440. A referral is not necessary.




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