Neglecting your oral health can have serious consequences

Taking care of Oral Health

A discussion about good health and well-being will encompass a lot of discourse on diet, fitness and proper medication. But how often does it include to oral health? Ignoring oral health problems until they are painful or seriously concerning has, somehow, become common practice.


A recent survey commissioned by Align Technology, a global medical device company, revealed that residents in the UAE can be reluctant to pay for proper dental care even when they can comfortably afford it. The survey also noted that only a few of the respondents have had discussions about their dental health with medical professionals.


This lack of concern for good dental care can be attributed to two major reasons. First, there is a lack of awareness about the importance of good oral hygiene among citizens. Second, as the survey identifies, the high costs of dental care treatments prompt people to put off their dental checkups for another day.


An oral health checkup may save your life

Your oral health can tell a lot about your overall health and well-being. 


Studies have shown that the state of your oral health can give you hints about other diseases that may be affecting your body. For instance, the frequent reoccurrence of gum diseases can be an indicator of diabetes, an illness that plagues a large part of the UAE population.


Similarly, the lack of proper oral hygiene may result in oral infections. These infections may later lead to serious repercussions such as heart diseases and even stroke, if the infection-causing bacteria from your mouth find their way into your bloodstream. Practising good oral hygiene can, therefore, significantly reduce the risk of such diseases.


What constitutes good oral hygiene?

The key to good oral care lies in two simple factors - consistent care and healthy eating habits. Simple changes to your daily lifestyle can stop problems even before they arise. This route is simply less painful and cheaper than treating diseases after they have progressed. 


Brushing before going to bed can eliminate a lot of germs and plaque that will accumulate during the daytime. Although the advice may seem rudimentary, people often tend to skip brushing their teeth at night. Apart from fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush, flossing and the use of mouthwash can help you reach the tight spaces between your teeth.


Cutting back on high-sugar diets is also crucial for your gum health. The sugar content in your food and beverage can interact with harmful bacteria in your mouth, promoting the formation of plaque. This can later lead to cavities and other gum diseases.


Regular visits to the dentist should also be part of your oral care routine. Although the time interval between each checkup depends on individual needs, it is advisable to visit your dentist at least once every six months. Dental professionals find this to be the ideal timeframe during which any problems can be detected and effectively treated. 


Let your insurance worry about the costs
Around 80% of the respondents in the survey conducted for Align Technology agreed that they would prefer their health insurance plans to expand to include dental treatments. With the right insurance coverage, you can avoid paying out of your pockets for a dental emergency and also ensure regular checkups. 


“Traditionally, a solid group health insurance policy can offer a wide range of dental treatments.” said Dr Yasser Khalifa, the head of Employee Benefits at Oman Insurance. “With the right coverage, you are assured prompt treatment without a strain on your budget,” he said.


Scaling or a minor filling can generally costs around AED 250-400. This is considerably cheaper than the treatment costs for gum diseases which can amount to more than AED 1000. With insurance coverage, the total cost for a regular dental checkup would usually amount to AED 50-AED 80.


Investing in maintaining your oral health today can prevent further complications at a later stage. It is important to keep a tab on the daily practices that affect your overall well-being and seek professional help to diagnose and treat illnesses before they can impair your well-being. 

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