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If you and your family have been skipping trips to the dentist, you’re not alone. “For every adult without health insurance, an estimated three lack dental insurance” comes according to a quote issued by the Kaiser Family Foundation based on research conducted by the National Association of Dental Plans.
A Key Component Of Overall Health and Hygiene
But what so few realize is the close relationship between one’s oral health and their overall health. A person’s mouth is a haven for potentially harmful bacteria, regular flossing, brushing, and cleanings can keep the bacteria at bay but when a person is neglecting their teeth, the bacteria can build and lead to infections, tooth decay, and gum disease. From there, it is possible for the bacteria to enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body leading to other serious problems.
According to Mayoclinic.org, the following have been found to possibly share a link with poor oral care:
- Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.
- Cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
- Pregnancy and birth. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
And if you suffer from any of the following conditions, your oral health may be at risk of deterioration without extra care administered by a dental professional:
- Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection — putting the gums at risk. Gum disease appears to be more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes. Research shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels and that regular periodontal care can improve diabetes control.
- HIV/AIDS. Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS.
- Osteoporosis — which causes bones to become weak and brittle — might be linked to periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Drugs used to treat osteoporosis carry a small risk of damage to the bones of the jaw.
- Alzheimer’s disease. Worsening oral health is seen as Alzheimer’s disease progresses.
In addition to the most noted above health issues, poor oral health has also been linked to such health issues as eating disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, head and neck cancers, and Sjogren’s syndrome among others.
Dental Insurance Can Help
When a person develops a cold or the flu, that’s when they know they need to take it easy for a few days and give their body time to rest and recharge. But when it comes to your teeth, symptoms of ailing oral health may not be so obvious. This is why it is important to visit your dentist for routine exams and cleanings to avoid problems down the road.
Got dental insurance? If not, there’s no time like the present! From now until December 31st, you can enroll in dental and vision insurance with an effective date of Jan. 1st to ensure coverage throughout the 2018 year. This is a special opportunity that arrives just once per quarter.
Learn more about our dental and vision insurance offerings today.