It was one of the most excruciating experiences of my life. I’d been dealing with a toothache for a while, but I kept putting off going to the dentist. I didn’t have the insurance or the extra money so like many others in my position I decided to “suck it up” and carry on.
I tried over the counter pain meds and numbing medicine, but they didn’t even touch it. I even resorted to old folk remedies like clove oil and black tea bags for even the slightest bit of relief. It was hard having to choose between that level of pain and groceries for the next week or more and I really didn’t want to get another tooth pulled because it was the cheapest alternative.
The next day I woke up and my gum line was bulging. My tooth had become abscessed (or infected). The pain was too much. I knew I still couldn’t afford the upfront payment at the dentist but maybe I could get in at the local minute clinic.
When I finally got to see the doctor there, they informed me that if it was a dental problem and not an infection that the cost was going to be much higher. At that point, I just crossed my fingers. Something had to give because I couldn’t take it anymore. The swelling was the size of a marble now.
It turns out it was an infection. I got some antibiotics and was able to get in later that month to get the filling I needed probably six months sooner. I had to pay for the minute clinic, the antibiotics, and now the cost of the dentist on top of it.
I grew up poor so dental health was never a top concern as long as we were brushing every day, but I learned an expensive lesson, and honestly, I was lucky. Your teeth can have a much bigger impact on your overall health, too. Including dental health into an already stretched budget is hard, but regular maintenance is much cheaper in the long run, and there are places like HOPE Healthcare Services that help the uninsured.
“….presently, a special dentist is aiding me with dental issues I have had since my husband’s death. The staff of HOPE is caring, thorough, gentle, and giving of their time.”
- Betty, actual HOPE Healthcare patient
Everyday Dental Care is Easy
“Dental caries (cavities) is the most common chronic disease in children: it is about five times as common as asthma and seven times as common as hay fever. The most common cause of tooth loss among adults is untreated periodontal disease. Fifty-three million people live with untreated tooth decay in their permanent teeth.”
- From “Oral Health: The Silent Epidemic” by Regina Benjamin
There are billions of bacteria living inside our mouths at any given time. Many of these bacteria can build up if gone unchecked, leading to plaque buildup, tooth decay, gingivitis, and other complications.
In Hendricks County alone, an estimated 15% of people are said to be in poor or fair health, a whole 3% higher than the national average. As we know, poor oral health can also lead to various health issues including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. With these types of statistics, it is important for you to do everything you can to ensure health and vibrance.
Luckily, there are small things that you can do daily to ensure that your smile, and oral health, are at their best.
Brushing after meals, using an antimicrobial mouthwash, and flossing at least once per day can prevent these harmful bacteria from reproducing in your mouth.
Along with this, a healthy diet low in sugary or starchy foods can help combat bad bacteria. Some great examples of oral hygiene routines are outlined below.
The American Dental Association recommends the following techniques for brushing your teeth:
- When brushing, try to angle your toothbrush so the bristles are massaging your gums. Brush in a circular motion from gums to tooth. That way you’re cleaning your gums and teeth at the same time.
- Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the inner tooth surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
- Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, using a gentle up-and-down stroke.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen breath.
- Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind it around the middle fingers of each hand. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
- Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion.
- When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
- Bring the floss back toward the contact point between the teeth and move the floss up or down the other side, conforming the floss to the shape of the tooth.
- Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up-and-down motions.
- Repeat this process on the rest of your teeth.
In addition to brushing and flossing, a mouth rinse can increase the overall cleanliness of your mouth. Antimicrobial mouth rinses reduce bacteria and plaque activity in the mouth and help with overall breath freshness. A fluoride mouth rinse can also be used to help prevent tooth decay. Always consult a dental professional before using new products. For example, fluoride rinse is not recommended for children six or younger as fluoride can be toxic in high amounts.
Additional tips for good oral hygiene:
- Limit the intake of sugary foods and drinks.
- Drink plenty of water with meals and along with sweetened beverages to wash away the sugar and acid. Give your mouth time to recover and flush away sugary drinks to lower your risk of developing cavities.
- Use a paper straw to help limit the contact of sugary beverages with teeth.
Regular, preventative dental check-ups are also highly recommended.
Hope Healthcare Services Can Help With Your Dental Care
Hope Healthcare Services provides dental services for those community residents without medical and dental coverage. Our dental treatment services include, but are not limited to:
- Oral Surgery
- Root Canals
Our dental services are provided by licensed dentists who specialize in oral health and are prepared to handle your teeth with care. Hope Healthcare Services can host and provide low-cost dental care and dental clinic services thanks to our volunteers and staff.
We know that visiting the dentist can seem like a nightmare. We are here to make it less of a nightmare and more of a daydream. Our team is ready and qualified to help you feel at ease from the start of your dental visit to the end.
Hope Healthcare is offering various services in the office and as drive-up services. If you’re struggling to find and afford dental care, we’re here to help. Take advantage of programs today to start feeling better without overpaying.
Give Hope Healthcare a call at 317-272-0708 to book an appointment today. If we do not answer, please leave a message, and we will call you back.
We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions to help you better understand the importance of oral hygiene.
- What kind of health problems can bad teeth cause?
Poor oral hygiene can lead to a whole host of complicated health issues including dental cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Along with oral health issues, poor oral hygiene has also been linked to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
- Can your teeth affect your body?
It is possible for the bacteria from a rotten tooth to spread into the bloodstream and cause much more complicated issues including respiratory issues, dementia, cardiovascular disease, and sepsis. That is why proper dental hygiene is paramount to overall well-being.
- What are the signs of poor oral hygiene?
Some signs of poor oral hygiene may include bad breath or taste in the mouth, swelling or discoloration of gums, deterioration of the gums, growths or ulcers within the mouth, and changes in texture or color in the tongue. It is important to address these issues immediately before they become more serious.