Fabulessly Frugal Friday: Preventing a High Dental Bill Part 2

Last week I showed you how keeping up on preventative care in the dental office will save you money in the long run. Oh ya and help your teeth and body stay healthy.

Here are some more ideas to cut your dental costs.

Free Dental Days: Give kids a Smile. Every year on the first Friday in February, thousands of our nation’s dentists and their dental team members provide free dental care services to uninsured children Kindergarten to 8th grade. The program is called Give Kids a Smile. It is happening Feb 5, 2010. Find a program in your area.

Dental Care by Students: When I was in Dental Hygiene school we did dental cleanings, x-rays and exams all for only $20. It took more time, but the patients got a very thorough cleaning and exam. 
If there is a dental school or dental hygiene school in your area contact them. They are always looking for patients, and their fees are minimal and sometimes FREE.
The ISU Dental School in Boise offers care on a sliding scale based on family income.
Apollo College in Boise offer cleanings call 208-377-8080.

Home care: You can do a lot at home to prevent dental decay and the need for expensive dental fillings, crowns and root canals.

  • Floss Daily 🙂 

Flossing prevents gingivitis and periodontitis (gum disease). Most people have gingivitis, because most people do not floss everyday. Gasp. Plaque builds up every 12 hours and gets beneath the gum line. Plaque is filled with bacteria that break down the gingival fibers around the tooth. If a person does not floss and does not get professional dental cleaning this disease gingivitis progresses to periodontitis. Periodontitis occurs when the bacteria from plaque start to destroy the bone around your teeth. Guess what if you lose enough bone you lose your teeth. Yuk. Remember treating periodontitis costs more than $700 for initial therapy

Flossing also prevents dental decay (cavities). Flossing is the only way to clean between the teeth. Toothbrush bristles just can’t get in there.

  • Brush 2 times a day

Be sure to use a soft or extra soft toothbrush to help prevent recession. No not economic recession, gingival recession. The gum starts to pull back away from the tooth exposing the root. This is often caused by brushing too hard.

Brushing will keep the plaque off the teeth and help prevent dental decay and gingivitis.

Fluoride: Fluoride makes the enamel hard and strong to help prevent cavities. 
Fluoride can be found in water and some foods; bottled water, city water and well water. Sometimes well water does not have it so have your water tested. Not all city’s fluoridate their water, contact your water company to find out. If you do not have enough fluoride in your water your children should take fluoride supplements. Children and adults can rinse with fluoride rinse like ACT found in the store. High risk people should brush with a prescription strength fluoride.

Cash Discount: Many dental offices will offer a 10% discount to patients the pay in full for their services. I know a good one that does. 🙂 Always be sure to ask if these services are available.

Sealant Clinics: Sealants are a protective coating placed in deep grooves of permanent teeth to prevent food and plaque from getting trapped and causing cavities. Sometimes free sealants are offered in the schools. Be sure to take advantage of these programs for your children.

Fluoride in the School: Any time your child can get a topical fluoride treatment in school get them involved. This is also usually FREE. This will help prevent cavities.

Eat Healthy: Just because you have a pantry full of fruit snacks you got for .05 a box does not mean you should let your kids eat them as much as they please. Hehe we had to work on this at my house. Sugar is a huge factor in causing tooth decay. Having a good balanced diet and taking vitamin supplements (especially D, B, C, Calcium, magnesium and zinc) will help supply your teeth and gums with the nutrients they need to stay healthy.

Avoid pop/soda: Not only does it contain lots of sugar it also has ACID! So that diet you thought you were safe with is still doing damage to your teeth. Acid and sugar work hard to cause cavities in the teeth. 

Avoid or Stop Using Tobacco: Tobacco causes periodontal disease and can even cause ORAL CANCER.

Next week we will cover how you can save money with dental insurance and dental discount plans.

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