According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of dental services increased nearly 2% in June 2022, the largest monthly increase ever recorded. This surge in dental service prices is just one of the many factors — including food, gas, clothing, cars, etc. — affected by rising inflation. Additionally, research from the American Dental Association (ADA) reports that 35% of dentists said rising costs and staffing issues were their most significant concerns regarding their dentistry practices.
With this uncertain economy and a potential recession on the horizon, you may be considering cutting back on unnecessary spending. However, it’s important not to include dental services on that list of cut-backs.
The Importance of Dental Health in Uncertain Economic Times
If you're worried about affording the dental care you may need during these uncertain times, know that prevention can be key. Here are several tips to help you minimize extensive dental work and give you some peace of mind:
- Practice good oral hygiene — Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day can go a long way in preventing dental conditions such as gum disease.
- Eat a healthy diet — Avoiding food and drinks high in sugar and acid can help keep your enamel intact and prevent cavities. Choose a high-fiber, low-sugar diet that provides plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Visit your dentist regularly — Be sure to visit your dentist for a dental checkup at least twice a year. A professional cleaning and exam can help keep plaque from growing and identify problems before they become bigger, more expensive issues.
- Avoid tobacco products — It’s no secret that smoking or chewing tobacco is bad for oral health. Quitting tobacco will not only help prevent dental diseases but also save money on buying tobacco products.
Understanding How Dental Health Impacts Overall Health
While you may think dental health is only focused on your teeth, it also plays an essential role in your overall health. Here’s how dental health can impact your overall health:
- Cardiovascular — According to a 2019 study published in Vascular Health and Risk Management, people with gum disease are twice as likely to suffer from a stroke.
- Diabetes — The American Academy of Periodontology reports that people with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease than non-diabetic individuals. Additionally, gum disease may make it harder for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar.
- Respiratory — According to the Mayo Clinic, certain oral bacteria can be pulled into your lungs, potentially causing pneumonia and other respiratory conditions.
- Pregnancy — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that between 60-75% of pregnant women have gingivitis. If left untreated, the gums can become infected and the bone that supports the teeth can be lost.
- Breast Cancer — According to a study published in Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, women with gum disease may have a two to three times higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who don’t have gum disease.
Looking Back at the 2008 Recession and Dental Care
The effects of the Great Recession lead to a decrease in demand for dental care. According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, general dental visits declined during the Great Recession, reaching a low of 38.4% in 2010. The study suggests that many people couldn’t afford to leave work or school to visit the dentist as the economic troubles worsened. Overall, the study shows how influential the state of the economy is regarding whether patients can afford to visit their dentist.
While cutting back costs during an economic downturn is understandable, you shouldn’t ignore dental care. How you maintain your teeth and gums affects not only your oral health but also your overall health. If you’re worried about budgeting for dental care, consider a dental savings plan.
Plan members can save 10-60% on most dental procedures with quick activation and no restrictions based on current health conditions. Plans start at just $80 for an individual, for the whole year. You can reach out to us at 1-833-735-0399 to learn how dental savings plans work, and starting getting the dental care you need even in uncertain times.