The Affordable Care Act made dental insurance for children a required benefit, but there is no such requirement for adults. And, some employers still don’t offer dental insurance benefits. Plus, for adults who are retired, work part-time or are self-employed, dental insurance can seem like an arbitrary expense. One that you know would be good to have, but maybe believe that you can do without. Here’s why you shouldn’t sacrifice good dental care, no matter what age you are.
Aging Teeth Need Preventive Care Too
Our teeth can become more susceptible to fracture and decay as we age. Old fillings can weaken, causing damage to your teeth. Gingivitis and periodontal disease can crop up without proper dental hygiene and maintenance.
Preventative Care Helps You Avoid Bigger Problems
Putting your preventive dental care on hold puts you at risk for worse dental problems down the road. For example, if the only time you go to the dentist is when you have a problem, the problem might not be fixable with a simpler measure by the time you address it. A dentist can spot potential problems during a regular check-up that can be repaired more easily than, say, when you have a hole in your tooth, or an abscess. Just like any other health issue, your dental problem will not go away if you ignore it — it will only get worse.
Regular Cleanings Help You Avoid Gum Disease
You can decrease your chances of getting gum disease or periodontal disease simply by having regular teeth cleanings at the dentist. If you wait until you feel pain from periodontal disease, you will probably also have loose teeth that are about to fall out. By then, it’s too late for an easy solution. Regular teeth cleanings also help you control your mouth odors, eliminate stained teeth and remediate sore, bleeding gums. And regular cleanings are not as expensive as you might think.
Payment Plans and Ways to Afford Dental Care
Many dentists offer a payment arrangement that replaces insurance, such as CareCredit. You pay an annual fee, usually over time, with no financing and no interest. You can also look for events offering free or low-cost dentistry at Dentistry From the Heart, America’s Dentists Care Foundation or on your state’s dental association website. Dental schools are also an option for lower cost dental care, under the supervision of licensed dentists. You can find a listing of accredited dental education programs on the American Dental Association website. However, with this option, you will spend a little more time getting your dental care, because every single thing the student does needs to be checked by the supervising dentist.
What You Can Do at Home
Your family depends on you. Your dental health is as important as any other aspect of your health. You can do a lot on your own to maintain healthy teeth and gums. First, be sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day for two to three minutes, and floss at least once a day. Doing so can keep plaque and bacteria in check, plus decrease gum inflammation and protect teeth from decay. Using a water flosser can also help. You can also choose an electric toothbrush, which will give you a better cleaning every time. Be sure to always brush your tongue, as that will keep bacteria at bay, and give you fresher breath. Fluoridated mouthwash also helps prevent cavities.
If you don’t think you can afford dental care because you don’t have dental insurance, please talk to us at Hall and Butterfield Family Dentistry! We can help you figure out a plan and keep your mouth healthy for years to come.