In your body, your “teeth bone” may be connected to your jawbone, but in health insurance, that’s not the case.
As those who have health insurance know, you must buy another plan for dental coverage. Yet, most physicians recognize that your teeth are indeed not only part of your body, but have an integral effect on your health as a whole.
That hasn’t always been the case.
Early dentistry schools focused more on building a good set of fake chompers than keeping the ones you were born with in working order. Then, in the early 1900s, physicians and dentists started to realize that your mouth health is linked to your health overall.
As the health insurance industry grew, the field of dental health expanded as well — but stayed a few paces behind health care itself. By the 1960s and 1970s, when the idea of dental insurance was born, it remained separate from health insurance.
That can be a problem. A 2011 study found that children with poor oral health were almost three times more likely to miss school because of dental pain. Other research has shown oral bacteria may also be linked to heart disease and infection, and problems with oral health are linked to osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.
In fact, the old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” can apply to improving people’s oral health, too. Aside from being a healthy food choice, apples have mildly astringent juices and their fibrous skin can help scrub teeth.
But make sure you keep your toothbrush and floss at the ready. Even if you don’t have dental insurance for regular cleanings, twice-daily brushing and daily flossing can go a long way to keeping a clean mouth, and may help keep your body healthy.