There’s a growing mountain of scientific evidence confirming that a good oral health routine
plays a vital role in preventing disease and preserving your overall wellness. According
to the American Dental Association, the need for oral care quickly rises after the age
of 45, and we need to be more faithful to our checkups than when we were younger. So,
here to help us brush up on those dental demands is Michelle Strange.
(music). Most people understand how important oral
hygiene is, brushing and cleaning between your teeth. But it’s equally important to
schedule those routine dental checkups, and that’s not just to prevent disease. Your dentist
might discover signs or symptoms of what could become a more serious illness because our
mouths are like a looking glass into our health. I’m speaking with Dr. Jed Jacobson today.
How are you? I am well. Thanks for the invitation, and
please call me Dr. J. Dr. J, you have made it your mission to convince
people that they need these routine dental checkups. Why are you so passionate about
it? Well, I think one fact that isn’t known by
many is that dental checkup is really, as you mentioned before, a window into the body
and we are disease detectives. There are some 120 different systemic diseases where if a
dental or a dental hygienist does a thorough examination can see the early oral manifestations
of those diseases. So, it’s the early detection that’s the key. Examples are cardiovascular
disease, respiratory diseases. One that I want to bring the audience’s attention to
is oral cancer and its changing nature in America. Oral cancer is a killer. It probably
kills as many people in the United States as does cervical cancer, skin cancer, and
many people are not aware of it. In fact, it’s the sixth most common cancer in men in
the United States. It’s deadly. Again, that survival rate is about a coin toss. Should
you survive it, you become extremely disabled. So, the point is it’s changing, though. It
used to be an old man’s disease. Now it’s a disease where women and young people are
increasing in frequency. Wow, that’s really interesting actually. And
it just gives a good argument to identifying diseases earlier rather than later.
That’s the cornerstone of the profession is that preventive aspect, and the dental hygienist
and the dentist working together preventing tooth decay, gingivitis which then can lead
to periodontitis which are all bacterial in original. So, getting in. Cleaning, even though
we do a wonderful job at home – making our mother’s proud – we still leave many millions
of bacteria behind. That prevention not only is preventing those three diseases: tooth
decay, gingivitis, periodontitis, but as you mentioned earlier you’re not just preventing
the oral diseases, but maybe the associated matter.
With the rest of the body. Yes.
And it’s also important to note that depending on your needs, your frequency of routine oral
exams can range anywhere from 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, maybe even a year depending
on what you’re needing. So, who is not seeing their dentist for these routine checkups?
The evidence is overwhelming. Those that don’t see a dentist on an annual basis don’t have
dental insurance, and that’s the key, we think, in getting individuals to come to the dental
office is it helps mitigate and reduce the cost or the perceived high cost of dental
care is dental insurance. And that’s 126 million Americans, that’s 40% of us here in the United
States. We’re doing a good job with kids, particularly through the affordable care act,
but it’s the adults that we’re getting very concerned about. We at Renaissance are particularly
concerned about the elderly going forward. And that’s my favorite population actually
to see. So, who exactly are we talking about without dental coverage?
Yeah, what typically happens in the United States is, you and I as a benefit of employment
will have dental insurance and we will enjoy the benefits until we retire. Often, when
we retire, we lose that dental benefit. We sign up for Medicare and Medicare does not
have any dental benefits baked into it predominately because in 1965 when Medicare was formed by
Congress, our predecessors didn’t have teeth. There was no need for it. So, when it comes
to this getting the dental office, early detection of diseases prevention, if you buy dental
insurance, a Medicare supplement for example, there’s an opportunity now to offer up a supplement.
Renaissance offers a series of those where they can add that dental insurance component.
But dental care can be so expensive. Particularly in the elderly, and you know
this because your work with the elderly. Many of us will have restorations and fillings
and crowns that have been long standing that we’ve accumulated throughout life. Now we
drop off and we retire and they need repair. There’s a shelf life to those restorations,
and typically those repairs are very costly, very expensive. That’s where that dental insurance
can help reduce those costs. And when you speak of the elderly, another
issue that we can see with seniors is that they’re on a lot of medications and they might
even have some of the systematic diseases that’s going to increase their risk for gum
disease. And a lot of those medications are actually giving them some dry mouth.
Michelle, that’s a great point. Some 400 medications we know have a decrease or a diminution of
salivary flow as a side effect of that medication, antihypertensives, antidepressants, decongestants,
antihistamines. So, that reduction of saliva puts an individual, an elderly, particularly
at risk because the saliva has a lot of protective enzymes, components, elements that reduce
the risk of dental decay, periodontal disease, etc. So, without that, particularly those
that are taking medications, really need a dental insurance to get them to come into
the office for the cleanings, the dental hygienists, etc.
Thank you, Dr. J for being here with us today. Oh, Michelle, thank you.
Many patients who have not been to the dentist in years are oftentimes embarrassed to return
even if they have dental insurance. I just would like to say we as dental professionals
are excited to have you in our chairs even if it has been many years. Don’t be afraid
of judgement. We are happy you have taken the next step in improving your oral health.
Make sure you follow up. Take care of that smile, and it will take care of you. Managing
your dental care cost is a smart start. Learn more at RenaissanceDental.com and take better
charge of your overall health and wellness by visiting us at AccessHealth.TV or follow
us on Facebook and Twitter. (music).