Dental Care And Total Health

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[You And Your Health]

Practicing good oral care helps you maintain healthy teeth and gums.

It also helps prevent stains from smoking, coffee, and soda. A strong set of teeth helps you chew food, and maintains the structure of your face, including your smile. Regular dental care is associated with good overall health. For example, caring for your teeth and gums can help prevent heart infections.

Diabetics, who are twice as likely to develop gum disease, may have a harder time regulating their blood sugar levels if bacteria from gum disease enter their bloodstream. Also, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, pregnant women with gum disease are seven times more likely to have a low-birth weight baby.

By following the tips below, you can enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth, avoid painful dental treatments, and keep your body healthy.

• Adults and children should visit the dentist at least twice a year for routine cleaning and exams. Children should begin dental visits at 12 months of age or six months after their first tooth comes in – whichever comes first.
• Brush your teeth at least twice a day with toothpaste containing fluoride.
• Brush your teeth in a circular motion for at least two minutes, making sure to reach teeth in the back.
• Be sure to brush your gums and tongue.
• Change your toothbrush every three months.
• Floss daily.
• Eat a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and dairy products. Limit or avoid sugary foods. But if you do eat sugar, brush your teeth right afterwards, if possible.
• Quit smoking – Smokers have a higher chance of developing gum disease and other health conditions, such as cancer and heart disease.

If you need a dentist and are enrolled in Affinity’s dental plan, please visit Aetna’s web site at for a list of providers in your area. If you are not enrolled with Aetna, you may visit the American Dental Association’s (ADA) site at to find an ADA-affiliated dentist.

Dr. Citerman works at Affinity Health Plan, an independent, not-for-profit organization offering quality health care coverage to underserved New Yorkers. For more information visit or call (866) 247-5678.

For questions about dental or general health, e-mail Dr. Citerman at
[email protected].


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