Where did the years go?
The first time we saw Maria (not real name) was 25 years ago, when we first opened our Oshawa practice. She was fortunate enough to have a job that had a great health care insurance program and she made sure that she took advantage of those benefits, faithfully attending to her oral health care needs at home and at our office over the years.
With her retirement quickly approaching and no healthcare package being offered after retirement, she told us of her concern over losing her dental benefits. We were happy to tell her that, at 60 years of age, she had what we would call an above-average state of oral health. Aside from a small amount of age-related bone loss and wearing down of biting surfaces, she has preserved her teeth remarkably well over the years.
No one has a crystal ball and we cannot not anticipate all future problems that our patients will have, but we know that a lifetime of good oral health will keep future dental care to a minimum. We had the opportunity to discuss common, age-related dental issues and encouraged her to maintain her 4 month cleaning schedule to help keep her future dental costs to a minimum.
She is more happy than ever that she took care of her teeth and gums over the years.
Preparing for tomorrow TODAY!
Many Canadian employers do not offer retiree benefits. In fact, over the years we have noticed an increasing trend of employers not offering any benefits to their employees. Another issue to consider is that, inevitably, your aging children will one day no longer be insured under your dental plan. And with the economy still trying to recover, many families are still in a situation where they must use what little disposable income they have judiciously.
How can people keep the dental portion of their health care costs down? What is the best advice we can give to our patients?
Take care of your teeth!!!!!
An ounce of Prevention … it’s a tale as old as time, but it will pay off!
We have seen first hand that there tends to be less stress related to the loss of the dental benefits by those patients who have faithfully cared for their oral health over the years. For those who opt to purchase a private dental plan after retirement and ask our advice about which level of coverage to choose, we can’t always tell them with certainty what their future will hold. We find, however, that those people who have cared for their teeth meticulously over the years will likely experience less of the “unexpected” that some aging mouths have to deal with.
If you were to implement the tips below, your future self will thank you. It’s as easy as remembering your…
Adopt of new way of thinking. Dental care is not expensive – dental neglect is! Although your years may pass quickly, the road of health can be a rocky one if you do not live well. Among the things that we have control over in our lives, dental care is one of them. It takes so little of your time, but has one of the biggest impacts down the road.
Willie Nelson once said, “If I had known I’d live this long, I would’ve taken better care myself.” We’ve heard this same pain of regret from patients over the years concerning their teeth, and if they had the chance, they would give their left eye tooth, er … anything to do life all over again knowing what they know now.
The best bang for your buck! There is very little cost associated with buying a new toothbrush every 3 months and using it 3 times a day. Floss and toothpaste should last a month, if you are maximizing the time you use them. Remind your children often how important home care is.
We had one patient who told us that their 35 year old son never appreciated her tooth brushing reminders until he had a family of his own and no dental insurance. His wife required extensive restoring of her decaying teeth and it was an ongoing source of stress on their household expenses. In parenting his own children, he hears the echo of his own mother’s words coming out of his own mouth with a renewed appreciation.
See your dentist at least twice a year for an examination and cleaning. It may sound counter-productive to your dentist’s income, but they really do want their patients to have healthy mouths. The frequency of re-evaluation examinations and cleanings depend largely on your level of tartar build up and your risk for dental disease.
On average, our adult patients who come in for regular 4 month cleanings, have very little, if any, dental problems. We think this is because they tend to be the kind of people who are already committed to a healthy lifestyle for their overall well being and approach their dental home habits and diet with the same level of commitment and care.
Today there is sugar in almost everything we eat because manufacturer’s use it as an inexpensive filler. It is almost impossible to avoid sugar. So how do you get around it? Meal frequency. No more snacking all day long! No more grazing. No more little meals all throughout the day. Eat 3 meals a day leaving 4 to 5 hours in between each. This will allow your saliva to repair your teeth from the sugar attacks they received at each meal. Cut down on processed foods and educate yourself on foods that are more kind to teeth than others.
School snacks at recess time were never the norm years ago. How did it make it’s way into our daily school routine? Childhood cavities are on the rise! Make sure your child has a nourishing breakfast that will stay with them until they begin to feel hungry again just before lunchtime. Hunger is the body’s way of telling you that it is time to eat. Hunger is normal! Learn how to pack a nourishing lunch for your child and collaborate with your child’s physician and dentist if they have a health condition that necessitates more than 3 meals a day.
…is for Smoking. Smoking does so much damage to your teeth and gums. It is one of the worst things you can do to your body and one of the best things you can do for health is to stop using tobacco products. If you have thought about quitting, you’re one step closer to being smoke-free!
The sooner you become smoke-free, the sooner your body can start to recover and it doesn’t take long to see the effects.
– Within one year of quitting, your added risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half than that of a smoker.
– Within 5 years, your risk of having a stroke will be nearly that of a non-smoker.
– Within 10 years, the risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half.
– Within 15 years, your risk of coronary heart disease will be similar to that of a non-smoker. courtesy of heartandstroke.com
Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team