Preventive Dentistry Avoids Kids' Cavities? Not!

I was horrified to read that a new study has found that preventive dentist visits may not help save any money or prevent any cavities.

According to newswise.com, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends "that children see a pediatric dentist as soon as their first tooth appears in order to prevent dental problems." But earlier research has indicated that "actually does not show that these visits lead to less costly dental issues in kids."

“There was actually more expensive restorative procedures among kids with more preventive dental visits," the Web site quotes Bisha Sen, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Healthcare Organization & Policy.

But this may not be as counter-intuitive as it sounds. Usually it's kids with a family history of dental problems who visit the dentist most often, and therefore, are the ones usually found to be most in need of expensive dental care. Kids without problem teeth probably aren't taken to the dentist as much.

In other words, the more careful you are with your kids' teeth, the more it will cost you!

Of course, dentists (like my husband) don't want you to hear that.  It's, of course, important to bring your kids to the dentist on a regular basis (six months is good, though my son, who has trouble keeping his teeth clean, goes to the hygienist every three months).

Most people (myself included) brush off teeth as not being very important in the scheme of things.  But that's very wrong.  Over time, if you don't take care of them, and get gum disease, that can lead to heart disease, stroke, even cancer (because of the inflammation caused by bacteria).  You're especially at risk when you're pregnant (though, when I went, I thought a murder had been committed in the office because expectant women's gums tend to bleed more, sorry if that's tmi).

And if you're unlucky enough to lose your teeth, that can create all sorts of digestive problems -- you either eat all soft food or you swallow your food whole.  My husband is convinced that that's what killed his grandfather at 99 -- when all his sisters lived well into their hundreds.

So keep your teeth healthy and clean, and that will go a long way towards helping you live, well, a long life.



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