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Why It Is Important to Attend Annual Dentist and Doctor's Appointments

When times become challenging, it is common for people to overlook their own needs. There are two ways that you can proactively take care of yourself. One is to have an annual wellness check-up with your primary doctor. The other is to visit your dentist twice a year for your teeth.

Why Visit Your Primary Care Doctor?

It is essential that adults visit their primary care provider at least once a year. This service is typically covered by insurance and can be a preventative check to catch any type of condition that might be lurking. Your doctor discusses your medical history with you, determines any risk factors, and performs an exam. Your primary doctor can determine if you need any exams, testing, or referral to a specialist. During this time, your doctor will review medications with you, provide vaccinations, and manage any diseases you may have.

Americans get about one billion colds each year. Visiting your primary doctor may not prevent you from getting a cold but can help you maintain optimal health. When you are at your peak health, your immune system is healthy, and you may be able to avoid catching colds or having severe symptoms. It is always a good idea to have an established relationship with your primary doctor, so if you do get sick, your primary doctor will know a little about you, making it easier to care for you. When in need of medical attention, patients most often chose to go to urgent care over their own doctors.

When patients chose urgent care over other medical facilities, 22 percent said their decision was based on the assumption that their wait times would be shorter, while 21 percent felt the urgent care location was more convenient than other options.

Why Visit The Dentist?

You cannot forget the dentist. It is critical that you schedule a visit with your dentist every six months for check-ups. When you visit the dentist for a semi-annual check-up, your teeth are checked for cavities. You may receive x-rays depending on your insurance, or if you can afford them. Your dentist performs an exam that checks your teeth for tartar and plague. Your dentist will check your gums to ensure they are healthy, and you are not in the beginning stages of gum disease. Your dental professional cleans your teeth and scales your gums during your visit.

If you consume a lot of sugary or sticky substances, it is important to have your teeth and gums checked. When those items sit on the teeth, they harm your teeth and break down the enamel intended to protect your teeth. As much as sports drinks are harmful to your teeth, researchers found that exposure to energy drinks such as Rockstar, Monster®, and Red Bull® resulted in twice as much enamel loss as exposure to sports drinks such as Powerade®, Gatorade®, and Propel® (3.1 percent to 1.5 percent).

It is important that you have a professional cleaning every six months to help clean that residue off your teeth and ensure your teeth are healthy. While at the dentist, you will have your neck, throat, tongue, head, and face examined. This is to examine you for any symptoms that there may be a bigger issue. These could include redness, swelling, or other signs of possible cancer.

It is important to ensure you keep your regularly scheduled appointments with your dentist and primary doctor. These are the best ways to make sure you are in the best possible health. These visits allow you and your doctor to catch things before they become a problem you cannot resolve.

What Is "Homeless Not Toothless" And How Can You Help?

When it comes to dental care, adults struggle to keep their teeth free of gum disease more than children do. Those older than 35 are more likely to lose teeth due to gum disease such as periodontal disease than they are from cavities. Unfortunately, those in this age group who fall under the poverty line are even more likely to suffer tooth loss from poor oral health.

Organizations such as Homeless Not Toothless recognize this need in their communities and work to solve that problem. Here is more on what Homeless Not Toothless is all about, and how you can help.

The Problem

The cause of poor oral health is usually a lack of resources. If you look around your own street, you might be surprised to learn that 30 percent of the people on your street are paying for food and housing, and not much more than that. That's because they can't right now. After the homeless, those neighbors are likely the ones with dental health problems on your street.

Toothlessness is the outcome. Most dentists and oral health professionals know that the people with the highest oral health issues are often the ones with the biggest challenges in accessing dental care. They also know that when oral health is failing, so is an individual's overall health.

The problem is not just about losing teeth, it's about health overall. When organizations are able to service those with failing oral health, they are contributing to the overall health of the community at large.

The Solution

The solution for one California organization is alleviating some stress for those less fortunate. There are a lot of solutions for low-income households when it comes to health care. However, there are fewer solutions when it comes to dental care.

Medicare is a solution for many, but that is only for people over the age of 65, and those with qualifying disabilities or illnesses.

Homeless Not Toothless is about helping the most disenfranchised when it comes to dental care. Their mission is to empower the homeless, impoverished veterans, youth in foster care, and low-income households by providing good dental care. Since 1992, Homeless Not Toothless has provided over $7.7 million worth of dental care to over 102,000 patients.

The services are performed pro bono, and the dentists pay for their own expenses. Homeless Not Toothless also partners with laboratories that donate their services to low-income patients. Their mission is to empower and combat the oral health problems of those underserved.

Homeless Not Toothless has also partnered with actress Sharon Stone in her work with her non-profit organization called Planet Hope. When Homeless Not Toothless and Planet Hope joined forces, a dental facility was rebuilt that was able to offer dental services to over 28,000 foster youth in Los Angeles.

Homeless Not Toothless has been a solution for over 100,000 California residents for almost 30 years, and it will continue to change lives with help from people like you.

How You Can Help

There are a number of ways to help Homeless Not Toothless. Donations are accepted and they are always looking for good volunteers. Another way you can help is by shopping with Amazon Smile, where one percent of the proceeds of each sale will go to Homeless Not Toothless. Homeless Not Toothless has also partnered with Lonesome Rider coffee, products you can purchase directly from the Homeless Not Toothless website.

Health is Wealth

For the dentists, volunteers, and partners at Homeless Not Toothless, health is wealth. They also believe that good overall health begins with good dental health. If you want to be a part of making this community or your community better, get involved with Homeless Not Toothless or an organization like it. There are dental care volunteer organizations all over the nation waiting for someone like you who is eager to help.

How Poor Oral Health Can Negatively Impact Your Body

Oral health and overall health are closely linked. Visiting your dentist can help make sure that your teeth are bright, white, and cavity-free. However, these visits also help take care of your gums, preventing and treating gum disease. Regular cleanings and periodontal treatment can help lower the risk of developing serious health issues connected to poor oral hygiene.

Many health conditions are either worsened, caused by, or connected to gum disease, including these:

Fevers From Infection

A normal fever can spike between 100.4 F and 104 F. A fever can be caused by an infection anywhere in the body, including your mouth. If you develop an abscess or other infection due to poor oral hygiene, you may find yourself with a fever, pain, and other severe symptoms. This may be a medical emergency. Reach out to a dental professional as soon as possible, or visit your local emergency department if you can't keep the fever under control with over-the-counter medication. Many dentists' offices keep emergency appointments available for these types of situations, as well.

Cardiovascular Disease

All orthodontists are trained dentists, but only five percent of trained dentists are also educated as orthodontists. No matter which type of professional you see, it's vital that you manage your oral health regularly in order to stay healthy overall. Bacterial infections in the gums that cause gingivitis and periodontal disease can get into the bloodstream and have a dramatic effect on the heart. There's strong evidence correlating poor oral health to blood clots, heart attacks, and stroke. If you have a history of cardiovascular issues in your family, pay special attention to your oral health so that you can prevent these issues.

Erectile Dysfunction

Around 30 million men in the U.S. are affected by erectile dysfunction symptoms. Men with severe gum disease are twice as likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction, compared to those with healthy teeth and gums. Spending more time daily on your oral hygiene routine may help improve your overall oral health, but it may also help reduce the symptoms of ED. If you're struggling with one or both of these conditions, it may be worth considering additional oral health measures to see if you can improve the situation. Talk to your doctor and dentist about the issues that you're experiencing, as they may be able to work together on a treatment plan.

Diabetes

Diabetic patients are more prone to infection from gum disease, which can then spread to other locations in the body. In addition, uncontrolled gum disease can make blood sugars harder to control. If you're diabetic, it's especially important that you make regular appointments with your dentist. Proper oral hygiene can make it easier to keep your blood sugar in check and help you stay healthier overall. Otherwise, you may find that you're carefully cooking your meals, exercising, taking your medication, and your blood sugars are still out of control. Speak to your dentist about the fact that you're diabetic so that they can include this in your overall treatment plan.

It's easy to put off going to the dentist for a cleaning, assuming that it's not an important part of your overall health care. However, oral health is actually an extremely important part of your overall health. Neglecting these trips to the dentist can worsen your diabetes, lead to severe medical crises, cause issues with your heart, or even contribute to erectile dysfunction symptoms. Schedule an appointment for an initial cleaning and overall evaluation with a dentist near you today, so that you can take care of your gums, your teeth, and your entire body.