Skipping the Dentist? What's Your Excuse?

It seems that most of the latest dental news stories have painted quite a disturbing picture of the state of oral health globally.  The Center for Disease Control has reported that nearly 50% of Americans suffer from some form of oral disease.  The American Dental Association sponsored a study investigating the dental divide, which found that there are millions of individuals across the country that don’t have reasonable access to dental care.  And still more research, out of the University of London this time, confirms that billions of people around the world are experiencing tooth decay.  Why is it that so many people are suffering from oral issues? Achieving and maintaining good oral health is not a mystery; brush for two minutes twice daily, floss regularly, and visit your dentist semi-annually for professional cleanings and exams.  So what’s the problem? A recent US News article tackled this question, looking at the most common reasons why people fall short in the oral hygiene department.

The first two pieces of the oral hygiene puzzle are simple enough and can be completed in the privacy of one’s home.  Both brushing and flossing are straightforward, inexpensive, and quick.  It’s the final piece that most have a hang-up about. And with good reason, author Laura McMullen suggests.  No one expects you to enjoy paying money to have someone prod around in your mouth, scraping, drilling, and pulling your teeth.  But that’s no excuse to skip it, especially when you consider how much your mouth does for you.  You eat, speak, breath, and even kiss with your mouth; taking an hour or two out of your year to maintain it shouldn’t be too much to ask.  If you are like many Americans, you have a “great” excuse for why you’ve skipped your cleaning.  Here are the top three excuses used (plus why they aren’t valid):

  1. I can’t afford dental work.  Sure, spending money on a filling is not ideal, and it’s true that 61% of individuals making less than $35,000 a year don’t have dental insurance.  However, when you compare a filling and cleaning, which can cost a couple hundred dollars, with thousands of dollars worth of root canals and extractions, it should soften the blow.  Ignoring a cavity now any means more extensive, expensive work late, not to mention more pain. The best way to save on dental work is through preventative care.
  2. Dental appointments are uncomfortable.  Unfortunately, most adults think back to the dental chair when they were a kid, not realizing how far modern dentistry has come.  I wouldn’t say that having dental work is fun nowadays, but there are so many options available to make your visit more pleasant.  Sedation dentistry has grown immensely in recent years, and taking an oral sedative or using a topical anesthetic can go a long way in making your experience a good one.  Talk to your dentist about what makes you uncomfortable and together you’ll come up with a solution.
  3. I brush and floss every day and have no oral pain; I don’t need to go to the dentist.  While establishing a good oral hygiene routine is important, nothing can replace a professional cleaning.  And even if you’re not experiencing pain, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re free of any oral disease.  Again, prevention is key, and if you wait until you’re hurting to go to the dentist, it’s too late for preventative care.

There isn’t an excuse out there that legitimizes your reason for choosing not to visit the dentist.  There are plenty of things in this world that aren’t fun, but still necessary; filling up your car with gas, buying insurance, paying taxes, and going to the dentist.  It doesn’t take much to accomplish, but without it, you’d be in a world of hurt; quite literally actually.  Enough excuses.  Call today.

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