The Georgia Dental Association Foundation for Oral Health (GDAF) has launched “Healthy Mouth, Healthy Me!,” a new effort to educate Georgians about the connection between dental health and overall health. The campaign, which rolled out March 6 on National Dentist’s Day, tells the stories of real Georgians and how regular dental visits help keep them healthy.
Visiting your dentist regularly can prevent many oral health issues and can show signs of other diseases and medical conditions that have symptoms in the mouth. Regular visits allow dentists to monitor your dental health and can help prevent minor issues from becoming larger problems.
Not enough Georgians go to the dentist regularly, even though 92 percent say they value a healthy mouth and believe those visits are necessary for good oral health. Only 55 percent of Georgians with private dental benefits coverage have seen a dentist in the past 12 months.*
“The Georgia Dental Association (GDA) and its Foundation created the ‘Healthy Mouth, Healthy Me!’ campaign to stress how regular dental visits can help spot dental health problems early on when treatment is likely to be simpler and more affordable,” says Frank J. Capaldo, executive director of the GDA.
A new website, HealthyMouthHealthyMe.org, will showcase the stories of real Georgians and how regular dental visits keep them healthy and smiling. A social media component on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter will reach residents online, and dentists will have new materials to raise awareness of the connection between oral health and overall health.
Deana Bohannon goes to the dentist to prevent problems with her teeth and ensure she has teeth that last a lifetime. She says, “My mother had dentures and I know how difficult life can be without your own teeth. By visiting my dentist regularly, I can keep my mouth healthy and handle any problems that arise before they become something bigger.” Bohannon has been seeing her GDA member dentist, Dr. Robin Reich, for the past eight years.
Dentists today focus on providing patients up-to-date care in a comfortable environment. “Dentistry is changing all the time,” says Reich. “Advances in dental care and technologies are making treatments more effective, allowing us to diagnose and treat problems more efficiently and often with less pain.”
Symptoms of oral cancer and diabetes are among the most common that can appear in the mouth. In addition, more than 125 diseases or health problems may be affected by oral health. They may include cardiovascular disease, dementia, respiratory infections, pregnancy complications, infertility, erectile dysfunction, kidney disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
The poor condition of a person’s mouth and teeth can lead to other issues as well. Those include taking days off from work, reduced social participation, difficulty with speech, problems sleeping, and anxiety.
By the Numbers:
- 25% of adults avoid smiling due to the condition of their mouth and teeth
- 13% of adults say the appearance of their mouth and teeth affects their ability to interview for jobs
- 30% of adults experienced pain due to the condition of their mouth and teeth
- 25% of Georgians cite fear as one of the top reasons for not seeing a dentist regularly
The GDA has an updated list of all member dentists in Georgia at HealthyMouthHealthyMe.org. The site enables potential patients to select a dentist based on location and specialty. Visit HealthyMouthHealthyMe.org to find a dentist near you.
* “Georgia's Oral Health Care System.” Oral Health Care System | Georgia State Fact Sheet (Infographic), www.ada.org/en/science-research/health-policy-institute/oral-health-care-system/georgia-facts.