Visiting the Dentist is on the bottom of many people’s to-do lists however, frequent visits are critical for your oral health. There are several reasons people skip their semi-annual checkups, some have dentophobia and some just can’t afford it. Although the costs of preventative dental checkups can be steep, treatment can be even more costly. On average the cost of a dental checkup can range from $90-$137 and the cost of treating oral health problems, like cavities or infections, can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. When looking at the big picture, it is more cost effective to visit your dentist regularly, than to pay for the results of poor dental hygiene. There are several factors outside of dental visits that can impact your dental health. You probably know that brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily is a habit that will keep your oral hygiene in check, but do you know that your geographical location could be playing a role too?
The relationship between location and dental health
Many people are unaware that your geographical location can play a big part in your dental health. Some geographical elements that increase your chances of good dental health include the number of dentists in the area, as well as, the presence of fluoride in the area’s public water – this is beneficial for the prevention of tooth decay. The WalletHub released their rankings of which states have the healthiest teeth and gums in the US. Where does Michigan’s dental health rank nationally? 7th! Michigan and 4 other nearby states made it into the top 10 best dental health spots, is it the mid-west water we’re drinking?
How does Michigan’s dental health compare to other states?
WalletHub’s analysis was based on dental habits and health, and oral health which included 26 weighted key indicators of dental wellness to determine their rankings. Michigan ranked 10th for dental habits and health with Wisconsin ranking 1st and Louisiana ranking 51st. Key indicators involved in this category included both the share of adolescents and adults who visited a dentist in the past year, dental treatment costs and reduced dentist visits due to costs, dentists per capita and 13 other factors. In the oral health category, Michigan ranked 11th with Illinois ranked 1st, and West Virginia ranking 51st. Key indicators in the oral health category included poor or fair oral condition, the share of the elderly population with no natural teeth, pain due to oral condition and 5 other burdens that are caused by oral conditions. Although Michigan ranked 7th overall out of 50 states and the District of Columbia, there is room for improvement as they only scored 66.83 out of 100 points possible. How can Michigan improve their dental habits and oral health to move up the rankings?
Simple ways to maintain dental health
One of the best ways to maintain your dental health is by getting dental checkups regularly. Although the cost of routine checkups can add up, it will pay off in the long run if your dentist can catch a problem earlier than later. If the cost of going to the dentist is what keeps you from going, call your dentist and ask if they have any payment plans available or any resources they can suggest for you. Another option to consider when looking for affordable dental services is local dental hygiene training programs and dental schools. Take advantage of future professionals that need practice hours by getting low-cost dental care. Taking preventative measures is the number one step in maintaining your dental health.
Cleaning up your diet is another way to maintain your dental health. Swap the sugary and acidic beverages for water to avoid plaque buildup and tooth decay. Choose foods like celery and carrots over foods that will get stuck to your teeth. Switch to sugar-free gum as the increase in saliva production will help remove excess food in your teeth without loading up on sugar. It is important to instill in children the importance of healthy diet choices, and developing the habit early in life will carry into their future. Teaching children proper ways to take care of their bodies will not only benefit their oral health but overall health for the coming years.
As always, make sure you are thoroughly brushing your teeth twice a day. Finding a toothbrush that fits your mouth is important to ensure you are cleaning each tooth properly. Parents, keep an eye on your child’s oral hygiene habits, they often don’t brush all the way up to their gums and miss their back teeth. Check with your dentist to see what type of toothpaste they recommend for the status of your teeth, and ask about fluoride toothpaste or treatments. Flossing daily is a crucial element in maintaining your oral health yet often gets overlooked. Getting into the practice of flossing is important as it removes any lingering food or buildup between your teeth that your toothbrush can’t get to or miss.
Lastly, find a dentist that you trust. After a long search, I have finally found a dentist I trust, the entire staff at Fortson Dentistry, my dentist in Oak Park, Michigan are professional, accommodating and caring. If any oral health problems or concerns arise, contact your dentist to resolve your issue. Preventative care is imperative when wanting to maintain or improve your health and implementing the recommendations above is a good place to start. As for Michigan, maybe it’s the mid-west water that allowed us to rank 7th overall, but that doesn’t mean you should slack on your dental health maintenance.