Did you know your teeth are the only visible bones in your body? And yet, when it comes to caring for bones, we tend to worry more about the inside ones and ignore our teeth. If you stub a toe or experience pain in your joints, you might go get an X-ray or talk to a doctor. But many people may ignore signs of dental distress for one main reason: the dentist costs money.
According to the National Association of Dental Plans, nearly 35% of Americans do not have dental insurance. Additionally, people are nearly 3x less likely to have dental insurance than medical healthcare coverage. That’s a huge difference, especially since oral health has a major impact on your overall well-being.
Today, we’re exploring six reasons why dental insurance is important and why investing in your smile is always a safe bet.
Reason #1: Dental Insurance Helps Pay for Emergencies
You never know when bad luck is going to hit. You might break a filling while eating or have a child trip and chip a tooth. To show the importance of coverage in emergencies, I can think of no better example than my own experience with dental disasters.
When I was a college student, I didn’t have dental insurance. I was young, I took care of my oral health and I thought I couldn’t afford coverage. So, when I began feeling discomfort from one of my teeth, I ignored it. I used antiseptic mouthwash and thought I’d be okay. I wasn’t. Within days, the pain was unbearable and my face had begun to swell. When I went to the hospital for the swelling, I was told I needed to see an oral surgeon for an emergency root canal because the tooth was infected.
That 24-hour period ended up costing more than my tuition that semester. If I had dental coverage, not only would it have helped mitigate the costs, but I could have avoided the whole thing by going to the dentist sooner and getting treatment at the first sign of symptoms. Having dental coverage not only helps you when emergencies take place but can give you the security to visit the dentist before things become a problem.
Reason #2: Dental Insurance Helps You Maintain Good Oral Health
The National Association of Dental Plans reports that people with dental insurance are 2.5x more likely to visit the dentist than those without dental coverage. Additionally, they found that people with dental insurance are 49% more likely to consistently schedule checkups and cleanings. Checkups and cleanings play key roles in preventing cavities and tooth decay.
Oral health is maintained through consistency. So much of what we do to keep our pearly whites shining is centered around consistent habits. That’s why we have singing toothbrushes for children, to help them learn the proper brushing times. Having insurance coverage helps us take care of our oral health and prevent problems before they arise.
Reason #3: Your Mouth Can Affect Your Overall Health
Your oral health does more than just keep your teeth healthy; it can also be a cause of other health concerns. Scientific studies have shown that gingivitis can be a contributing factor to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and pregnancy difficulties such as preterm birth.
But how does that work? Gingivitis bacteria can enter the bloodstream through damaged gums and cause problems if it settles in other parts of the body. While you might see signs of gingivitis in your mouth, it might be causing additional damage elsewhere in your body. Gingivitis signs, such as loose teeth, bleeding gums, receding gum and tooth loss, shouldn’t be ignored. Your mouth may just be trying to tell you something about your overall health.
Reason #4: Dental Insurance Sets Kids Up for Healthy Habits
Dental insurance and regular visits can help your kids develop healthy dental habits that will last a lifetime. From providing lifelong cavity-preventing sealants to new teeth to helping children not fear dental offices, there’s plenty of reasons to get your kids used to the dentist at an early age.
The Center for Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Washington clearly states the important role dental health plays in the lives of children. “The sooner children begin getting regular dental checkups, the healthier their mouths will stay throughout their lives. Early checkups help prevent cavities and tooth decay, which can lead to pain, trouble concentrating and other medical issues.”
In America, 42% of children have signs of dental decay and cavities by age 11. Encouraging healthy oral health habits, such as regular brushing and flossing, and staying up to date on checkups are all important tools to help parents care for their kids and stop painful and preventable tooth decay throughout childhood and beyond.
Want to learn more about pediatric dentistry? Check out our blog post about your child’s first dentist and eye appointment.
Reason #5: Get a Smile You Love
Dental insurance is more than just a checkup. It offers coverage for many additional services that can help you transform your smile. Everyone should feel comfortable with their teeth and dental work can help you reach your ideal smile.
Orthodontic care is a major benefit to dental insurance for many people with unevenly spaced smiles. Orthodontists use dental braces and other equipment to straighten teeth and correct bites. There are several options for braces available for adults and youth depending on medical needs. The cost of dental braces can vary by option, so make sure you explore your choices when considering orthodontics.
Additional cosmetic coverage for teeth whitening and other smile-perfecting items may also be covered.
Reason #6: Peace of Mind
Ultimately, the most important reason to get dental insurance is the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are covered. Whether it’s an emergency procedure, kids needing braces or just knowing you can afford your checkups, there’s comfort in knowing someone has your back.
With dental plan options available for as little as $20 a month, it has never been a better time to sign up for a dental insurance plan. With plan options to fit your needs and coverage to protect your teeth, it’s peace of mind you can really smile about!