Although it is common knowledge that dentists recommend a professional cleaning twice a year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that less than two-thirds of adults go to the dentist once a year.
The primary reason people delay dental visits? According to a 2012 Consumer Reports survey, the cost of care tops the list. However, studies show that it’s far more cost-effective to prevent dental problems than to undergo expensive treatment after years of dental neglect.
A recent U.S. Senate report titled Dental Crisis in America: The Need to Expand Access, found that people with dental insurance are more likely than those without coverage to regularly visit the dentist, but roughly 130 million Americans don’t have dental insurance. Among those who do, the average annual benefit is only about $1,000 to $1,500–not enough to cover any serious procedures.
The key is to prevent your oral health from getting so bad that serious dental procedures are the only option. Follow these tips to lower your chances of paying for expensive and serious dental procedures in the future:
- Brush twice and floss once daily – This can go a long way in making sure you don’t have to have a tooth pulled or a crown placed on your tooth. Keeping the bacteria at bay is the most important step in oral health care.
- Avoid too much sugar – If you regularly drink sodas and chow down on cupcakes, don’t worry! You don’t have to stop eating your favorite treats. Cutting down to one soda a day can make all the difference. Even just choosing the candy least detrimental to your teeth can help. If possible, rinse your mouth out with water or mouthwash after you indulge.
- Visit your dentist twice a year – This tip is the holy grail of dental problem prevention. If you fail to visit the dentist twice a year, you may run into problems your dentist could have spotted early.
Remember: it’s better to prepare and prevent than it is to repair and repent–and more cost-effective too!