Healthy Teeth, Healthy Dog – for National Dog Day

by MikeMeehan 8/25/2017 9:53 AM

Our dogs are a frequent topic here in the office. We share laughs, lessons, and, of course, love for these amazing creatures. Because we adore them so much, we want our dogs to live happy and healthy lives. And we’ve come to learn that their oral health can have a lot to do with that. Your dog’s dental health is an important part of your pet’s overall health. Sounds familiar, right? Just like humans, healthy teeth and gums mean a healthier dog and a longer life. We emphasize the importance oral health has on overall health, and it’s the same for our four-legged family members. For National Dog Day, we’re going to celebrate our dogs by continuing our message and include our dogs! Oral health problems for dogs Like humans, dogs can have similar dental problems like gingivitis and periodontal disease. It’s imperative to keep teeth and gums strong and healthy because dental issues can lead to other health problems. Another similarity, early detection and treatment can be critical. We get our teeth checked twice a year; with your dog’s annual visit to the vet, teeth and gums will (or should) be checked. You can monitor your dog’s teeth between these visits by looking for plaque buildup and swollen gums. How to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy Brushing your dog’s teeth might seem impossible, but with some effort, it can pay off in the long run. Struggling with the task of keeping our dog’s teeth clean is a topic I’ve discussed with my co-workers. And I’ll admit, none of us have taken on the challenge of brushing. Some of us have adopted older dogs, so we’ve had to take our dogs to the vet for a cleaning which involves anesthesia. I recently rescued a younger dog, so it’s possible to start a routine of brushing to prevent the need for a dental procedure in the future. It might take some getting used to, for me and my dog, but with time, patience and training, it could turn into a habit. According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, brushing your dog’s teeth regularly is the most effective way to keep them healthy and may reduce or even eliminate the need for a dental cleaning at the vet. If you decide to take on the challenge of brushing your dog’s teeth, consult with your vet. There is special toothpaste for dogs because human toothpaste is toxic for them. There are also specially designed toothbrushes. But if you can’t manage brushing your dog’s teeth, there are other things you can do. Chew toys – I’m lucky that my dog enjoys chewing on toys and sticks. When I see her chewing on her favorite rubber toy, I’m thankful it could be helping her teeth. Some toys are designed to strengthen gums and teeth. When a dog chews or gnaws on a toy, it can scrape off buildup on their teeth. Dental treats – There are lots of options out there. My vet sells a great brand of dental chews. They’re similar to raw hides, but they have special ingredients that fight and breakdown the plaque on teeth. Dental treats can also help with freshening breath, but be aware, severe bad breath can be a sign of dental problems. Tooth wipes – A great option and alternative to brushing, dog tooth wipes are used to rub against the teeth and remove plaque. Dry food – I used to think of soft food as a special treat for dogs, but it’s not good for their teeth. Soft food can stick to teeth, create buildup and lead to tooth decay. Happy to celebrate National Dog Day celebrates all dogs and encourages rescue and adoption from shelters. The day brings attention to the many roles dogs have in our lives. We’re happy to celebrate this day and message with you all, while also relating it to the message of making oral health an important part of your overall health. Take care of your smile and your pet’s! Always consult with your veterinarian about what is best for your dog. For further information and resources: http://www.akc.org/content/dog-care/articles/5-tips-for-keeping-your-dogs-teeth-clean1/ https://www.cesarsway.com/dog-care/dental-care/7-tips-for-doggie-dental-care

What is a dental plan?

by MikeMeehan 8/24/2017 10:20 AM

A dental plan is a type of health benefit that helps make care more affordable. You pay a monthly or annual fee called a premium, and, in exchange, the dental plan helps you pay for dental services and procedures. Even if you’re generally healthy and have had few or no cavities, it pays to have a dental plan. Here’s why: • Experience better overall health. People who see the dentist regularly are more likely to report good oral health and improved overall well-being. • Detect diseases sooner. More than 120 diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, have symptoms that appear in the mouth. Your dentist may see these signs during an oral exam, allowing you to seek treatment early. • Treat small oral health issues before they become more serious. Regular dental visits mean your dentist can address concerns early and treat them before they become serious. That’s why most plans cover 100 percent of the cost of preventive services like exams and cleanings. • Enjoy cost-savings. In addition to sharing the cost with your dental carrier, you can save even more by visiting in-network dentists since Delta Dental has pre-established fees with these dentists. • Make dental work more affordable. Dental plans help make dental care more budget-friendly, but the savings are especially helpful when unexpected issues arise – they can help reduce expenses you may not have been prepared for. Ready to purchase a dental plan? Visit https://individual.deltadentalmo.com/ to purchase a plan or find additional information.

Oral Health Concerns for Older Adults

by MikeMeehan 8/21/2017 3:17 PM

As you age, your dental health is just as important as it was when you were a kid. So while the healthy routines are the same – brushing twice a day, flossing, visiting the dentist and eating smile-friendly foods – there are some specific concerns we can focus on to make sure your smile stays strong.  Maintain good oral health routines You already brush twice a day, for two to three minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Now as you get older, be aware that the areas by your old fillings and the parts of your teeth exposed by receding gums are more susceptible to decay. Your dentist can watch for any signs of tooth decay in these areas. MouthHealthy.org from the American Dental Association recommends, for adults over 60, using an electric toothbrush or a toothbrush with a wider handle, especially if you have limited movement or arthritis. Keep flossing Flossing is as important as ever since most adults show some signs of gum disease. Flossing can remove the plaque between your teeth and below your gum line to help prevent gum disease. Sometimes we forget about the health of our gums, but gum disease can lead to tooth loss in adults. Choose healthy Foods rich in calcium and vitamin D can help keep your teeth and bones healthy and reduce the risk of tooth loss. Apples, carrots, celery and other fruits and raw vegetables can help to remove plaque from your teeth, but if you’re experiencing tooth pain, it may deter you from eating healthy foods. Visit your dentist right away if you’re having pain and it’s affecting your ability to eat. Oral health is a part of your overall health, so eating foods rich in antioxidants and nutrients can improve your ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, which affects and protects your teeth and gums. Your dentist can notice potential problems Your dental visits twice a year are just as important to maintain as you age. Dental x-rays can detect the early signs of oral health problems like root decay. Additionally, chronic diseases like diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease can show symptoms in your mouth, research suggests. Your dentist can be the first to notice problems. Your medications can affect your oral health Some of us may face health issues that require medication, and your medications can have negative effects on your oral health. One of the most common side effects for older adults is dry mouth. This condition deprives the mouth of saliva, which plays a critical role in preventing tooth decay. To help with this, drink plenty of water and limit caffeine and alcohol. Consult your doctor and dentist for guidance and more information. Also, it’s important to keep dentists up-to-date on medications so they can monitor your oral health for side effects. Keep them strong While some of these recommendations are universal and can apply to all ages, as you age, your oral health can have specialized concerns. Take care of your teeth and gums so they stay strong and healthy throughout your life. Here’s more information about continuing dental benefits after retirement.

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