For every person at every age, a healthy mouth is vital. Good oral health is essential for your overall health. If you have ever had a severe cavity, you know how painful it can be. Kids in pain from dental problems have difficulty learning, eating and getting a good night’s sleep. They are absent from school more often. Some children are embarrassed to smile because of dental problems.
For adults, there is a link between dental disease and serious health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and pregnancy complications. Poor oral health can make it difficult to get a job, perform well at work and eat healthy foods.
The good news is that cavities and gum disease are preventable. Prevention and early treatment save money by reducing the likelihood of more serious and expensive oral health issues.
Fortunately, Apple Health (Medicaid) covers many dental services. However, only 56 percent of lower-income children in the state, and 23 percent of lower-income adults, actually saw a dentist in the last year.
There is a free online tool available at TheMightyMouth.org to help you find a dentist who accepts your insurance, including Apple Health. You can also call or text 844-888-5465. There are Spanish speakers ready to assist.
All children should have their mouth checked by a dentist or physician by age one. And, every pregnant woman should visit the dentist because cavity-causing germs can be passed from mother to child.
In addition to regular checkups, here are some tips to keep your mouth healthy:
- Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss daily
- Drink water (fluoridated tap water is best)
- Avoid sugary beverages including juice, sports drinks, and soda
- Choose healthy snacks such as cheese, fruit, and vegetables
Surveys of people in Washington show that oral health problems occur in all communities, but are more common among minorities and people with lower incomes. For example, Hispanic children have a 50 percent higher rate of cavities than Caucasian children.
Everyone should be concerned about these health disparities. We can and must do better. No one should suffer from an easily preventable disease, especially a disease that affects the ability to learn, eat and find a job.
Go to The Mighty Mouth for more tips because ‘You’re healthier with a healthy mouth.’
Note: Thanks to the Arcora Foundation for sharing these tips with us!