Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's Not Just About a Pretty Smile

Health care has been an off and on topic of conversation on my blog for a long time. I was pretty clear about my opinion of the health care bill that passed several years ago, and nothing, so far, has changed my opinion.

In fact, it seems like the things that are heppening reinforced my statements about it being a mistake - that it would only line the pockets of the insurance companies, and that there would be no improvement in overall health care, especially for the demographic the bill was designed to assist - i.e. the 10% who were uninsured and (supposedly) had no access to health care.

In speaking of health care, a recent headline caught my eye. It said Dental Visits to ERs are on the Rise. The gist of the article is that, as the economy continues to worsen, States are being forced to cut expenses, and one of the first things that are being cut are dental benefits for those receiving State-funded medical assistance.

The irony in this is that good preventative care is far less expensive than fixing a problem once it's become an emergency. This is true of just about everything from the leaky roof to our bodies. In fact, there is significant research available to suggest a strong link between poor oral hygiene and cardiovascular disease. In short, people who practice good oral hygiene and have access to preventative dental care, may be at a lower risk of heart disease. It's a lot cheaper to give folks a toothbrush and let them get a couple of cleanings per year than it is to do open heart surgery.

In Surviving the Apocalypse in the Suburbs, I discuss need for good dental care, but we should be doing it now, and not when we have an abscessed tooth.

Benjamin Franklin is attributed with saying: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, which is to say, that keeping our mouths clean (DAILY flossing, brushing, and rinsing with vinegar or saltwater) can really make a huge difference in our overall health.

And, frankly, in a world turned upside-down, I can't imagine anything worse than having a toothache and no access to antibiotics ... or nitrous oxide when that tooth has to be pulled.

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