Contributed by Dr. Edward Treviño
Now that the holidays have passed and we’re able to think straight again, it’s time to start putting things into perspective. We must prioritize the important things that need to be done. Over the last few months, we’ve been bombarded with Thanksgiving and Christmas advertisements getting us to focus on the holidays. Now it’s time to focus on other things, like life.
One of the most important things we must focus on is our health. Without our health, we can’t be in tip top shape to handle our everyday responsibilities. When we talk about health, we’re talking not just about our physical well-being, but also our mental well-being. Many things can affect our psyche. Just think about everything that you just went through during the holidays: all the hustle and bustle of the food, gifts, money and clean-up – it’s enough to make your head spin.
One of the things that people don’t give much thought to is their oral health. At least 50% of those with insurance do not use it. There are more than 100,000,000 people in the U.S. that don’t even have dental insurance. That means, in simple terms, that there are a whole bunch of people out there that are not receiving dental care.
Teeth are important because our oral health has a strong bearing on our overall body’s health. There are several billion bacteria in the “clean” oral environment, and that can increase tenfold in an unmaintained mouth. Periodontal disease or gum disease has been linked to predisposition to diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, osteoporosis, respiratory disease, heart attack, atherosclerosis, congestive heart failure and coronary heart disease. Anyone of these conditions can be detrimental, but just imagine what it can do to us mentally if we become plagued by any one of these. Have you ever seen the face of someone who has just received an unfavorable diagnosis? It could be devastating. Have you ever seen the face of someone who just found out that they were going to lose a front tooth or maybe multiple teeth due to poor oral hygiene? What makes it worse is that it all could have been prevented.
Many people walk around with the stigma of having missing teeth, and it can become crippling. Their lives can change and they become a different person with a different personality. They can lose their sense of pride or confidence, unable to face life’s challenges. Can you imagine what it would be like to go through life never smiling, walking around with your hand covering your face because you are embarrassed to smile? What if you are unemployed, but you never go apply for a job because you are afraid that no one will even consider you because of your poor dental condition?
What can be equally discouraging is the fact that dental benefits or insurance maximums have not changed in 50 years. So just like the advertisements at holiday time convincing us to purchase their products, society has told us that for the last 50 years that there has been no perceptive increase in your dental value or oral health.
So take control and make the decision to see the real value in your dental health. Be wise and call your dentist tomorrow to start the year with a clean slate.
If you have any questions, contact:
Art of Design Implant, Cosmetic and Family Dentistry
Edward A. Treviño, D.D.S., F.A.D.I.A.
1040 E. Herndon Avenue #102, Fresno