The cost of dental care is no joke. Even with insurance, the cost of a single filling can range anywhere from $50 to $150, and 18.6% of kids from the ages of five and up have at least one untreated cavity. The good news is that, by taking preventative measures, you can help to keep your family's dental expenses down without busting your budget. Here are five simple ways you can help to keep your family's teeth in great shape.
1. Monitor dental habits
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes. However, despite this recommendation, tooth decay is at least five times more common than childhood asthma and 20 times more common than diabetes. Instead of asking your kids if they've brushed their teeth and accepting their answer, consider brushing your teeth at the same time they do to make sure they're doing it properly. Dental experts recommend that kids be supervised while brushing their teeth until at least age 11 to make sure they're using the proper techniques.
2. Use a tartar-removing dental gel
Regular dental visits every six months are essential to your family's health. However, tartar only takes 48 hours to form, and six months is a long time to leave tartar on your teeth. Acids released by the bad bacteria in your mouth can harm your enamel more easily once tartar forms, putting you and your kids at risk for cavities. A dental gel that removes tartar can help to keep cavities at bay until the next time you visit your dentist. Just be sure not to replace your toothpaste with dental gel because they're different products.
3. Avoid acidic beverages
Sometimes it isn't your family's oral hygiene that's causing tooth decay. Acidic beverages like energy drinks, sports drinks, sodas, and sparkling water can hurt your teeth's enamel. Your enamel is the protective layer of your teeth. Once acids from your mouth's bad bacteria are able to break through the enamel, your risk of cavities increases. Opt for non-acidic beverages in your household and promote drinking water instead.
4. Purchase a dental discount plan
Sometimes dental insurance isn't a part of your healthcare plan. In this case, it may be in your best interest to buy a dental discount plan instead. A dental discount plan is a membership-based plan where you pay a one-time fee each year, choose a dentist from within the network, and pay discounted prices for your dental work. Some dental practices also offer their own discount dental plans for patients who don't have dental insurance. Talk to your family dental practice to see what your potential options are.
5. Set up a payment plan with your dentist
Even if your dentist doesn't offer a discount payment plan of their own, they might still have options available to make it easier for you to get the dental care you need for your family. Instead of using your credit card, which can hit hard later due to high-interest payments, consider asking your dentist if you can set up a payment plan. Your dental practice may let you pay in installments for dental treatments that are too expensive to pay upfront.