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Finances & Money

How a Good Oral Health Routine Saves You Money

There are many out of the box ways of thinking about money and making savings, but how many of you have ever considered oral hygiene as part of that process?

No, I don’t mean buying cheaper toothpaste or skipping the dentist so you can cross the costs off your budget. The truth is, if you don’t have a good oral health routine (including dentist appointments), not only will you eventually require costly procedures to get your teeth and gums back on track, but you could spark other health concerns that will be much more costly in the future.

Did you know that the bacteria left in one’s mouth from lack of brushing, flossing and not getting professional cleanings can contribute to strokes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and even erectile dysfunction?

The procedures, medications, and knock-on financial impact of these diseases and conditions is much higher than the cost of keeping on top of your oral hygiene.

Even if you don’t have much money, using a dental loan to pay for preventative dental care is an investment that will save you money in the long run.

Particularly poor oral care can also lead to chronic tooth and jaw pain, warped speech, the inability to chew (leading to malnutrition and subsequent health problems), and the very real pain of social embarrassment. Who wants to be around somebody with bad breath, who can’t eat properly?

With all this in mind, here are three key things to include in your oral health routine to save you paying for expensive dental bills and other medical expenses in the future.

Check-ups and Professional Cleanings

Gum or periodontal disease, as its known, is actually present in the majority of the population, but it’s kept from reaching a dangerous level by good oral care.

The human mouth is full of bacteria, but when left unchecked this grows and travels below the gum line. At this stage, if you’re not having regular check-ups at the dentist the problem can only get worse as even brushing and flossing cannot reach the bacteria any longer.

When your dental hygienist does a professional clean, they are targeting the bacteria that you can’t reach yourself.

If ignored completely this bacteria slowly weakens the teeth and jaw bones and significantly increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, adult onset diabetes and erectile dysfunction – all costly diseases and conditions to deal with.

More recently links have been discovered between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease, a harrowing disease for all of the family and very expensive to manage.

It is also believed that particularly bad dental care, to the point of being unable to chew properly, contributes to digestive problems and diseases, as 40% of digestion occurs via chewing.

In short, go to those check-ups and cleanings and save your health and bank balance!

Electric Toothbrush

Many people today use an electric toothbrush instead of a regular manual one and if you’re looking for preventative measures, then investing in a good dentist recommended electric toothbrush is definitely worth it. Numerous studies and the consistent praise from professionals, prove that they are indeed better at cleaning your teeth, removing plaque, preventing gum disease and the subsequent costly effects of having the disease.

However just because you’ve bought an electric toothbrush doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get better oral hygiene. You still need to brush at least two times a day with good technique, with each brushing session lasting at least two minutes.

It’s also important to note that not all electric toothbrushes are the same. In fact, the cheaper variety that is powered by regular batteries and look much like regular brushes, is not what dentists actually consider “electric toothbrushes” and should be avoided. These would be more accurately described as vibrating brushes, as that’s all they really do.

Proper electric toothbrushes are quite expensive and are larger units that can be plugged-in and recharged. You are required to replace the brush heads every few months, and depending on the ones you choose and your brand of brush – they may vibrate, rotate, oscillate and even use sonic technology to thoroughly clean your teeth, gums, and mouth.

They might also have special modes for whitening, massaging gums, dealing with sensitive teeth, and sensors to let you know when you’re brushing too hard (and causing unneeded damage) or when it’s time to replace the brush head.

Flossing

We all know that brushing our teeth is important, but flossing often gets overlooked as brushing’s annoying and time-consuming cousin. Because of this many people only floss occasionally, or if they do it daily it’s not very thorough. If you don’t floss regularly or at all, you could be setting yourself up for some costly dental and other medical bills in the future. Here’s why:

Regular flossing results in fewer bacteria and less chance of damaging gum disease. The process of removing debris, plaque, and bacteria from beneath the gum where brushing can’t reach, gives you an overall healthier mouth and keeps bad breath at bay.

Failing to floss and letting that bacteria build up contributes to all of the previously mentioned problems. And if you floss on top of brushing, you are less likely to require the first line of dental procedures such as more extensive cleans, fillings, and crowns – all of which cost money.

It might seem like a hassle, but flossing really doesn’t take that long and once you get used to it your speed and tolerance will increase.

If you’re only familiar with the old-fashioned long pieces of floss that you have to wrap around your fingers, then you’ll be keen to know that there are now many other types of floss that make the process easier. One of the most popular are floss picks; small plastic toothpicks with floss on one end and a toothpick on the other to help remove larger pieces of food stuck between your teeth.

You can also add extra tools to the mix like water jets (oral irrigators), that help flush away food particles you’re having a hard time reaching.

 

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Susan Paige

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