By Helen A.

Remember your dental health!

September is Healthy Aging Month, and a great time to remind ourselves of the importance of protecting our dental health too.

Dental health

With our busy lives, it is easy to take our health for granted. One aspect that is especially easy to neglect is our dental health. A lot of attention is focused on children’s dental health, yet even as we age, we still need to maintain good dental hygiene throughout our lifetime. The earlier and more consistent our dental care routine starts, the better our odds of surviving into adulthood with our own teeth intact and strong enough to continue eating whatever we want.

As in children, our teeth can become decayed in adult years due to neglect. We may develop gum disease, which is a key reason why one’s teeth may fall out over time. Fewer teeth make it more difficult to bite into food and to chew thoroughly. This may cause problems with digestion as well. Certain medications can dry our mouth, and a dry mouth can affect our teeth, and even cause bad breath. Awareness of these issues can make us more proactive in dealing with them.

On a cosmetic note, nothing ages a person’s appearance quicker than losing teeth, because the mouth’s overall structure can become sunken and lose its natural shape. A mouthful of missing teeth also affects our smile and thus our confidence level.

As if all that were not enough, did you know that your oral health may be related to other health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease? Our mouth is a portal to our digestive and respiratory systems, so taking care of our mouth health helps to maintain our overall body health.

We should practice preventive care that includes brushing twice daily and flossing regularly. Tobacco products have a negative impact on the health of our mouth and are best avoided, of course.  

Regular visits to a dentist play a preventive role in maintaining dental health. Ongoing professional care can help prevent procedures that could become more complicated and costly in the future. Dentists can even screen for other conditions of the mouth, such as cancer.

Dental resources

If the cost of dental insurance is an issue, there are resources available in Evansville such as the dental clinic at ECHO for individuals with and without insurance. Patients can pay on a sliding scale. Studies have shown that people with dental insurance are more likely to go for preventive care, since routine dental care is usually covered at 100%. If it is available to you, be sure to take advantage of all that your dental insurance plan offers.

Your public library is a great place to go for all types of health information. Our public computers and Wi-Fi can put you in touch with providers in your area, as well as give you access to sign up for dental coverage. Stop by your favorite EVPL location soon to get started!

Helen A.

Helen A.

Give her a crossword puzzle to work, and Helen is one happy camper. She also enjoys making recipes healthier, developing her green thumb, and tracking her daily steps on walks with her husband.

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