Thanksgiving is the time of year when we give thanks for all of our blessings. This can include family, friends, wealth and even our health. If you are blessed enough to have good oral health, you probably have not spent enough time thinking about this particular blessing. However, when our dental health goes south and we experience painful and expensive dental problems, it is then that we realize what a big blessing this is. Good dental health gives us the ability to chew and eat properly and to properly digest the foods we eat. It also has a big effect on our confidence and our quality of life.
Unfortunately, many American adults are not blessed with good oral health. This is evidenced by the fact that according to the American Dental Association (ADA), more than 20 million people in the United States are missing all of their teeth. The ADA also reports that more than 100 million people in the United States are missing between 11 to 15 of their teeth. Tooth decay in America is also a problem, especially in children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay affects more than 1/4 of U. S. children between the ages of 2 and 5 and half of children between the ages of 12 and 15. Lastly, periodontal disease is rampant in American adults. According to the CDC, half of American adults have some stage of periodontal disease, many of them undiagnosed. This is unfortunate because untreated periodontal disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss.
Cavities, periodontal disease and missing teeth are largely preventable dental health conditions. Many of these cases can be avoided with proper daily dental hygiene, regular dental care and a healthy, well-balanced diet. If you are one of the many Americans who is not blessed with good oral health, now is the time to turn things around. Talk to your dentist today about the steps you can take to improve your dental health in the new year.
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