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Dental Health in Pennsylvania: A Focus on Preventive Health Care

Good oral hygiene helps prevent the development of bad breath, gum diseases, and tooth decay, and it strengthens your teeth as you get older. Regular practice of good dental hygiene also lowers your risk for bacteria-related infections, which can affect your overall health.

To raise awareness on the importance of oral health, the Department of Health in Pennsylvania launched its four-year oral health plan, beginning from 2017 until the latter part of 2020.

Pennsylvania and Dental Health

A contributing factor to dental health not being a widespread concern is the disparity of the population’s access to oral health facilities. Pennsylvania has 164 dental health professional shortage areas (DHPSA), meeting only 39 percent of the dental care need in the state, based on a staggering 5000-to-1 population to dentist ratio.

The oral health disparities among children in Pennsylvania are higher compared to other states. Dental decay remains a significant problem in children and young adults living in the state, too. The program that the state launched seeks to lessen these problems by introducing methods of preventive health care. The program begins by urging families to visit their local dental clinics in Pennsylvania and schedule routine dental check ups for the entire family.

Why Preventive Health Care?

woman at the dentistPreventive health care is your first defense against health emergencies. By engaging in preventive health care, oral health problems decrease with every trip you make to the dentist’s office. Your dentist will be able to detect problems, from early gum disease to tooth decay, early on. This means an easier treatment and a reversal of the most common dental conditions.

Preventive health care practices also lowers costs. How? By maintaining good dental hygiene, you lower your risk for developing oral diseases. You don’t need to buy expensive medicines and you may not need to make hospital trips because of complications from dental problems.

How Can You Practice Preventive Health Care?

Preventive dentistry is simple. It comprises a healthy diet, regular exercise, and brushing and flossing your teeth regularly. You just have to commit to doing it every day and every night. Flossing is particularly crucial because it can get rid of the plaque that builds up along the gum line. Reducing the amount of dental plaque in your mouth helps prevent gum diseases and tooth decay.

But you need to floss the right way to get the grit out of your teeth and gums, and then gargle thoroughly with mouthwash. Practice enough times so that it becomes routine for you.

You should also use fluoride toothpaste when brushing. But brush gently because teeth and gums are sensitive; brush for a good two minutes where you get from the front of your mouth to the back of your teeth and tongue. Gargling with mouthwash reduces leftover bacteria from the brush.

Finally, schedule regular checkups in the dentist’s office for your family. No one can inform you better about the status of your oral health than registered professionals and dental care practitioners.

In Pennsylvania, where access to oral health care is still limited, it’s best to follow an oral care plan that allows you to keep that beautiful smile for many years.

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