The slurp of the suction, the screaming of the drill, needles dripping with anesthetic, and the bill when you’re done. These are some of the reasons why people fear the dentist. When we eat, speak, smile our teeth are visible, and they are working and we want them healthy. The thing most people don’t mention is their hesitation toward dental care. We should provide basic dental care for Americans, because good oral hygiene is the basis of genuine health.
Dental visits aren’t just keeping your mouth healthy but your whole body.
Most people don’t know that the bacteria in the mouth can cause low birth weights, strokes, heart disease, and diabetes. Scientists have found that the mouth and systemic health are linked. For example, the “bacteria on your teeth and gums could travel through your bloodstream and attach to fatty plaques in your arteries making the plaques become more swollen. If one of the plaques bursts and causes a blood clot to form, you can have a heart attack or stroke” (Mayo).
Keeping your regular cleaning appointments, brushing two times a day, flossing, replacing your tooth brush every three to four months, and a healthy diet are the way to a health mouth and body. Dental fear is passed from parents to children in many cases. Children see how hesitant their parents are when going or while visiting a dentist. Some parents also believe in being completely honest about appointments to their children, which in theory is good, but telling a child that they are going to get a shot with a needle is good way to cause anxiety.
Being less descriptive and letting the professional’s use their verbiage will help a child not worry as much and determine their own minds about the experience. Adult’s need to remember that dentistry has advanced since they were children, procedures are faster, and anesthetic works more effectively. Another problem Americans have with the dentist is poor insurance coverage or none at all. The cost of dental care is very expensive and insurance maximums only cover $1500-$2000 a year. One procedure alone could cost that, then people have no more money for cleaning or other dental needs.
With our economy and employers cutting insurance benefits or buying the less expensive coverage the employees suffer. Being a dental assistant for eleven years has shown me how people will let their insurance maximums dictate the treatment they do. Doing this may keep people them in their budgets, but the teeth left untreated continue to get worse and will need more expensive treatment. The need for dental care is growing among low income families or families impacted by the economy. “An estimated 10 percent to 20 percent of U. S. esidents have no dental insurance or get no dental care” (Muldoon). An example of the extent of the need was the Free Mission of Mercy Dental Clinic that was held at the Oregon Convention Center last November of 2010. Thousands of people stood in line waiting in cold, wet weather to receive free dental care. The scene of those people standing outside in the cold makes a very large statement. Hopefully the government took note of this tragic situation and will do something about it. Despite Americans fear of the dentist and the impact it makes on their pocket book, they need basic dental care.
Every year many organizations go to elementary school and educate children about proper brushing, flossing, and provide dental cleanings for the children who need it. Another thing some states are doing is providing free dental care like the one held in Oregon. Mobile dental units are receiving funding that travel to schools, retirement homes and low income neighborhoods. The government needs to take control and initiate programs the help people who can’t afford dental care. Leaving it to dental schools and the community isn’t going to help all the people that need it.
Another issue that could be addressed by legislation is the cost of dental supplies. I currently am responsible for ordering the supplies for my office on a monthly basis. Every month I spend $8,000 dollars on average for our supplies, and knowing very well that most of the prices are incredibly marked up. If dental supply companies sold their products with less of a profit margin, then dentist could charge patients less for procedures. The fact that it’s allowed for these large companies to charge high prices for medical and dental products, because they know they are needed and will lways be needed, which is very unfortunate. The dental community does what they can to help its community because they know how important oral care is to their health. Having access and the means to get proper dental care isn’t the only factor to staying healthy. Eating a proper diet is as a huge part of maintaining the health of your mouth. Most Americans aren’t aware that a lot of the sports drinks, energy drinks, and processed foods have high amounts of sugar in them. Sugar acts like acid to the teeth, and breaks down the enamel.
By cutting those things out or controlling it could reduce the acid levels in the mouth. The consumption of these foods should be less then eating fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables. Low income families have a higher risk and need to be more diligent with their brushing and flossing. A huge injustice to the American population is how we feed our children in our schools. How do we expect them to learn healthy eating habits when they have Taco Bell, greasy pizza, and vending machines teaching them to make bad food choices?
Schools should provide healthy options to teach children to make wise food choices instead of unhealthy ones. Doing this would help newer generations make better and healthier choices to put them on the path of being healthy adults. Starting children at a young age owning their health is a good trend to start. Being healthy is a combination of factors which over time, shape and mold the life of a human being. The definition of health is not only the absence of disease, but also a positive health status – a well-being, the ability to be active and productive in one’s life.
Being healthy is feeling that there are few physical or emotional impediments to doing things in your life that you would like. It’s not so much a biological state as it is a state of mind. There are many people who are suffering from chronic illnesses who are healthy because they are able to maintain their creativity and vivacity when others cannot. Being healthy is first with the mind, having a sense of balance in life, also eating well, being able to exercise and being fully active. The health of any nation is closely linked to the health of its people, the productivity of its workforce, and the health of future generations.
Most countries have health services whose challenge is to protect the health of society as a whole. If we look at factors that influence health in all populations, it requires us to make the primary focus on prevention rather than care. A commitment to social justice and to looking at all social factors – environmental factors that influence health, behavioral factors as well as the factors affecting the health care system. We have a good infrastructure and support for the government aspects of public health such as clean water and good policies to protect the public and the society.
Besides fear of the slurp of the suction, the screaming of the drill and needles dripping with anesthetic the anxiety associated to the dentist has a much deeper meaning. We need to work on the economic situation of our country to improve the overall structure, to develop how healthcare is provided for Americans. Remembering the daily brushing and flossing is not only one simple way to work towards our path for genuine health, but empowering yourself to take the steps to live a healthy life is living your best life.
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