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The Importance of Dental Health

November 22nd, 2012

There is a general consensus amongst professional and public health groups that there are some barriers to people accessing dental care.  Poor dental conditions result in some surprising statistics. According to the Surgeon General, illnesses related to oral health result in approximately 6.1 million days of bed disability, 12.7 million days of restricted activity, and 20.5 million lost work days every year.  Other groups have identified the huge number of lost school days by children.
The Academy of General Dentistry recently released a white paper identifying some of the underlying barriers that have kept oral health from improving.  The first of these is education.  A recent dental report showed the dental literacy of many to be insufficient.  Understanding the causes of dental disease and prevention strategies is lacking and we need to increase our programs to educate the public.  Our office is available for your group to present dental education programs.  We are already presenting similar programs in local schools.
Psychological factors, that is, motivating patients who are knowledgeable to get proper treatment, and transition to a prevention philosophy rather than a treatment philosophy.  It is far less expensive to prevent disease than to wait and then treat problems.
Other barriers include financial and geographic ones.  Patients with limited funds are often faced with waiting until emergencies exist, and often people living in rural areas have no access to care that is close to home.
These and other factors are the subject of many discussions within organized dentistry.  Dentists are quite aware of our obligation to help control dental disease and we’re working to provide programs to that end.
Along with the responsibility of our profession is the responsibility of every individual to understand the importance of dental health as a part of their overall health.  Many thousands of people rely on the hospital emergency room for dental emergencies.  This results in millions of dollars of needless expense.  Talk to your dentist and staff about the preventive needs for you and your family that can save time, effort and dollars.

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