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Most people don’t think of brushing their teeth as a way to save money, but taking care of your teeth can actually save you thousands of dollars down the road. Most dentists inform you of this whenever you go into the dental office, but many people just shrug off the advice as unnecessary or excessive. They avoid regular dental upkeep because they don’t want to spend the money or the time, but it can end up costing a lot more to fix the problems that arrive as a result.
Prevention vs. Treatment
It is much more affordable to spend the money and time keeping your teeth healthy than to ignore your mouth, endure a painful cavity and then finally go to the dentist for treatment. You can spend 10 years taking care of your teeth every day and still save thousands of dollars compared to only one root canal treatment for a decayed tooth. Prices are all approximate and may vary depending on where you live, but consider this comparison:
Dental health materials purchased within a 10-year period: Floss (4.5 per year at $1.50 each) – $67 Toothbrushes (4 per year at $2 each) – $80 Toothpaste (3 per year at $2.50 each) – $75 Dental checkup (1 per year at $30 each) – $300
Cost of treatment for advanced dental decay on only one tooth: Full-mouth X-ray: $113 Local anesthesia: $70 Root canal on a molar: $1,038 Porcelain crown: $1,057
If you don’t take care of your mouth, it is very likely that you will end up needing more than one dental procedure within that same 10-year period.
You can buy all the equipment, but if you don’t know how to use it properly, you may as well start saving up for that root canal. An important part of saving money in dental costs is understanding how to make it work. If you’re an extreme cheapskate you may wonder why you have to spend any money at all. It’s true that most dentists give away free toothbrushes and floss with an office visit, but aside from that, these are necessary expenses.
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day helps to clear the mouth of harmful bacteria and buildup on the teeth. If sugar or other food is allowed to sit on the teeth for too long, the acidic breakdown will lead to decay and cavities. It’s important to brush thoroughly but gently with a soft-bristle toothbrush, or your efforts might actually wear down the enamel and push the gums away – leading to more dental expenses.
Flossing your teeth every night may sound superfluous if you already brushed your teeth, but in actuality, brushing only cleans 60% of a tooth’s surface. The remaining surface space lies between the teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. Floss clears out the spaces between the teeth and prevents plaque buildup. If plaque remains unchecked, it will turn into calculus, which can only be removed by a dental professional. It also provides bacteria with an inviting place to break down the tooth enamel decay the tooth.
Visiting a dentist for an oral exam at least once a year can make a big difference in your dental health. Dentists can catch problems that you would never notice just by looking into your own mouth. The key to eliminating extra dental costs is to catch every problem as early as possible, so you can treat the issue before it becomes a more expensive problem. The dentist makes this possible.
A little work upfront can make a big difference in preventing the pain and expense of dealing with dental issues. Build these simple habits into your daily routine to help protect your teeth. It may seem strange at first, but maintaining your dental health actually saves you a lot of money in the long run.
Kayla Holiday enjoys providing a cheap dental insurance alternative to small businesses and individuals and helping them save money on 1Dental.com plans.