How much are your teeth worth anyways? This is a question we struggle with everyday in our dental office. To some people, having healthy, beautiful teeth is worth tens of thousands of dollars. To others, getting out of pain and even getting rid of infection in their mouth is not worth even a few hundred dollars.
So how do we evaluate the price of dental health as a society? there have been a few studies on this topic. One by the Journal of Periodontology found that people with gum disease have 21% higher health care costs than people with healthy gums. The logical conclusion would be that it is attributed to the higher amount of dental care needed, but actually, dental disease and infections in the mouth can travel into the body.
These infections can cause many other, seemingly unrelated, issues in the rest of the body. For example there have been studies linking gum disease and diabetes, gum disease and heart disease even stroke and preterm births for pregnant women. That is crazy considering that going to the dentist regularly can cost less than $1000/year whereas treatment of diabetes, stroke and heart disease can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Another cost is the indirect cost of taking time off work and school. Statistics released by the Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Resource Center show that over $164 million hours of work were lost in a single year by employed people in the United States to deal with dental problems. This is costing us millions of dollars per year.
Of course, we all know the social cost of poor oral health. For example, people with missing teeth are less likely to be hired as employers consider them less intellignet and trustworthy than candidates with good oral health.
So PLEASE, don’t just think about the bill at the dentist. When you consider the REAL costs of poor oral health, going to the dentist is a real bargain!!
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