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Neglecting Dental Health Can Have Serious Consequences

According to findings by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Americans are neglecting their dental health more than ever. When people start whacking things off their health coverage to lower premium costs and control deductibles, dental benefits are the first to go. Consequently, only 71 percent of adult Americans saw a dentist last year. The problem is as bad or worse for children. In California, for instance one in four children have never seen a dentist — a problem worse for minority kids and low income families.

The problem is also worsened by a shortage of dentists that mirrors the shortage of general practitioners. This is especially the case in small towns and rural areas where a trip to a dentist in a neighboring town is even more expensive when the cost of fuel and lost work time is added to the actual dental bill.

This issue is of particular concern as poor dental health can lead to other health issues. Many dental schools offer clinics where people can get free cleanings, the application of sealant, and occasionally even fillings. More complex procedures that require a specialist are hard to come by for people who can’t pay, but often serious problems can be avoided simply by attending to regular cleanings.

When broken out by state, people in Connecticut have the highest attendance rankings at the dentist — 80.2 percent of adults — while Oklahoma residents are in the worse shape at just 57.9 percent. While it’s understandable that people are doing everything than can to save on health care expenses, find a way to take care of your teeth, even if that just means brushing and flossing regularly. Generally, with dental issues, neglect leads to major problems that can not only effect your general health and quality of life, but can also seriously deplete your pocketbook in an emergency.

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