Seeing your family dentist before school starts

by MikeMeehan 8/2/2018 9:49 AM

Each year, 100 million Americans forego a dental visit, and that’s a big problem when it comes to maintaining a healthy smile. Before your calendar fills up with school activities, athletic events and more, schedule routine dental appointments for your kids (and yourself!). No matter how good your oral hygiene habits are, a dental visit provides benefits that regular brushing and flossing can’t, like removing tartar buildup.  Differences between plaque and tartarPlaque is a colorless film of bacteria that sticks to teeth. These bacteria create acids that decay teeth and irritate gums. Luckily, plaque can be removed with daily brushing and flossing. But when plaque stays on your teeth for too long, it hardens or calcifies along your gumline and forms tartar. Once this happens, regular brushing is not sufficient for removal, and that’s bad news for your gums. By pushing your gums away from your teeth, tartar creates pockets that allow bacteria to grow. If tartar isn’t removed with regular professional cleanings, it can cause gum disease, also known as periodontitis, and can even lead to tooth loss. How your teeth are cleaned at a dental appointmentDuring a routine cleaning, your dentist or hygienist uses a modified mirror to find unwanted residue and a metal instrument called a scaler to remove plaque and tartar. The scaler has a bladelike tip that allows them to scrape above and below your gumline as well as in between your teeth. They might also use a vibrating device called an ultrasonic scaler to shake plaque and tartar free. They can then wash away these bacteria with water. When they have sufficiently removed all plaque and tartar, they polish your teeth with an electric brush and polishing paste. The last step is a thorough flossing to make sure there’s nothing hiding between your teeth. Visiting your dentist regularly is an essential part of your oral health routine. Not only will it keep your smile sparkling, but it will also help spot dental issues early before they progress into more costly problems. Take a moment to prepare your family for a school year full of smiles by scheduling dental appointments today. 

Diabetes and Your Oral Health

by MikeMeehan 11/14/2017 2:11 PM

November is Diabetes Awareness Month to bring attention to the disease and the millions of people affected by it. We’d like to join this effort from the perspective of your oral health. Frequently, we emphasize the connection between oral health and overall health. And that connection can work both ways. A person with diabetes is an example of this connection. If you have diabetes, you’re at a higher risk of developing gum disease. And, according to the American Diabetes Association, research suggests “serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.” What’s the connection? To be clear, diabetes doesn’t cause gum disease and gum disease doesn’t cause diabetes. But if you have one, you are likely to have the other, in comparison to others who don’t have diabetes or gum disease. To explain a bit further, if you have diabetes, your ability to fight infection is reduced. Gum disease is a type of infection in your gums and the surrounding bones supporting your teeth. Gum disease is also referred to as periodontal disease. Early gum disease, called gingivitis, has symptoms like red, swollen and bleeding gums. In the early stages, gingivitis can be reversible with daily brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist. When the condition reaches the later stage, called periodontitis, your gums are seriously damaged.  Talk With Your Dentist To prevent gum disease, practice good oral health care. If you have diabetes, since you’re at higher risk of developing gum disease, paying close attention to your teeth and mouth and maintaining a good oral health care routine is extremely important. Managing your diabetes will also help. According to studies, people who manage their diabetes tend to have less gum disease than people who are not managing their disease well. Talk with your dentist to discuss a plan going forward. Enhanced Benefits Also, if you have diabetes or gum disease you may be eligible for enhanced benefits through your Delta Dental plan, like extra cleanings and exams. Confirm your eligibility before treatment by contacting us directly or talking with your dental care provider. You may have to sign up for the enhanced benefits program before receiving the extra coverage. You can learn more about the symptoms diabetes can create in your mouth by visiting the American Dental Association website. Learn more about diabetes and Diabetes Awareness Month by visiting the American Diabetes Association website.

Enhanced Benefits for Improved Oral Health

by MikeMeehan 10/31/2017 1:54 PM

At Delta Dental, we emphasize the connection between your oral health and overall health. We know that maintaining your oral health will provide benefits to your entire health. And because of this connection, if you have a specific health condition, additional oral health care can be beneficial. So we, at Delta Dental, offer enhanced benefits. Our enhanced benefits program, called Healthy Smiles, Healthy Lives®, covers extra cleanings and exams for members with certain health conditions. You may be eligible to receive this extra care for little or no increase in your dental premium. And the extra care will improve not only your oral health, but your overall health. Check your current plan to confirm your eligibility or if you’d like to enroll, visit our website, or talk with your dentist. The program benefits are based on your dental plan and your medical condition. The benefits may include additional cleanings, periodontal maintenance and fluoride treatments. Here are some examples of conditions that may be eligible for the enhanced benefits program, as listed by the Delta Dental Plans Association: Cancer-related chemotherapy or radiation treatments. While under these treatments, you may have a weakened immune system and dry mouth. This can put you at increased risk for cavities and gum infection. Diabetes. If you have diabetes, you are more susceptible to periodontal disease. Extra cleanings may help improve your periodontal health. Periodontal (gum) disease. You may prevent tooth loss that can result from periodontal disease  with more frequent visits and additional dental care. Cardiovascular diseases or stroke. If you have cardiovascular disease, you share many of the risk factors with those who have gum disease.  Kidney failure or dialysis. If you have kidney disease, additional preventive care may help you decrease dental infections, which can be harmful to your kidney functions. Pregnant women. If you’re pregnant, hormonal changes can make your mouth more vulnerable to bacteria and developing gum problems. Good preventive care and extra cleanings can help avoid those issues. Suppressed immune systems. More oral exams and cleanings may help you if you have a weakened immune system, including if you have HIV or if you have received an organ transplant. These extra cleanings can help you avoid mouth infections and improve your quality of life. Again, please be sure to confirm your eligibility before treatment by contacting us directly or asking your dentist to contact us. You may have to sign up for the enhanced benefits program before receiving the extra coverage.  

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