Taking care of our oral health is an integral part of promoting our overall well-being. But let’s be realistic; going to the dentist costs money and, in this economy, there isn’t that money to go around for average, reasonable Americans. If you don’t want to take your oral health for granted but still ensure that you get the most out of your money, here are some tips to doing just that:

1. Come up with a list of your dental concerns before hitting the clinic.

Maybe the past two months, you have begun feeling a sharp, stabbing pain whenever you bite into something hot or cold but never really thought much about it because the pain would only last a split second anyway. Or maybe you noticed blood the last couple of times that you brushed your teeth. While these events may not prompt you to take action right away, it’s still important for your dentist to know about these things the next time you walk in. Other common dental problems which you might want to take note of include teeth grinding episodes, sores that do not heal normally and any kind of pain.

2. Let your dentist know about the other medical conditions you were lately diagnosed with.

You may not think that being diagnosed with diabetes would affect your teeth, but you couldn’t be that wrong. Disorders like diabetes could induce changes in the state of your gums and your overall oral health. People who are diabetic are more susceptible to gum diseases and oral fungal infections caused by Candida albicans because they are immunocompromised and have more glucose in their mouth, the same substance which microorganisms consume as food.

3. ‘Fess up about all the medications and supplements you are taking.

Your dental problem could be caused by whatever it is you are taking. For instance, a decrease in saliva production could lead to the increase in the growth of bacteria inside your mouth because saliva, the natural mouth rinse of your body, controls the multiplication of bacteria in your oral cavity. And it’s not a coincidence that older adults are the ones who are most affected by this because certain anti-hypertensive drugs depress the proper functioning of salivary glands.

4. Ask about low-cost options if you’re in a budget.

Just because you’re in a financial rut does not mean that you should forget completely about going to the dentist. If you avoid your bi-yearly visits to the dentist, you’re going to be spending more down the road in terms of crowns and dental implants to disguise heavily decayed teeth if not replace teeth which you have lost. Your dentists understand exactly what your predicament is (since they’re in that kind of condition somehow, too) and would be willing to accommodate your request for low-cost options.

photo credit: stuartpilbrow via photopin cc