Pet Dental Health

Source: 123rf.com
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Yuliia Sonsedska

 

I’m sure the majority of you are well aware about the importance of good dental health, but have you ever thought how important good dental health is in your pets?  Just as in humans, the mouths of your pets are teeming with bacteria, and some of those bacteria can enter the digestive tract, respiratory tract, and bloodstream, and cause disease, particularly in the heart, lung, and kidneys.

Another factor to consider in our pets is the fact that we have domesticated these animals over the millenia, and as a result, they no longer depend on hunting to procure their food.  This means that the natural form of teeth cleaning, in essence, gnawing and tearing at the flesh of their prey, has, for the most part, been eliminated, and replaced with dry kibble and canned foods.  Eighty percent of pet dogs and cats who have had no dental cleaning or intervention show signs of oral disease by the time they are 3 years old.

I take all of this very seriously with my pets, and I am diligent about taking them in every six months for non-anesthetic dental cleaning.  It’s worth the financial expense, even though I struggle to pay for their dental care twice a year.  The way I see it, I’d rather take them in for regular dental cleaning than to put them at risk for a myriad of diseases, and have them suffer needlessly as a result.  I’ve been taking them in for regular cleanings from the time they were young adults, and they have had mild issues with no need for a more aggressive cleaning with anesthetic.  I realize that they may at some point need cleaning under anesthesia, but until we cross that bridge, I will continue to take them in for the anesthesia-free option.

There are definitely some limitations with non-anesthetic teeth cleaning for pets, such as the fact that only the plaque above the gum line can be removed.  The veterinarian examines the pet’s teeth and gums to determine if there is any inflammation or sign of infection, and if there are any findings which are beyond the scope of the non-anesthetic cleaning crew, the pet is referred for cleaning with anesthesia.

Overall, if you aren’t paying attention to your pet’s teeth and gums, you should.  It’s a good idea to ask your veterinarian at your next visit what he or she recommends in the way of dental care.  There are dental chews which help to clean the teeth, and some very brave pet owners actually brush their pet’s teeth.  Your vet will help determine the best care regimen for your beloved pet.

 

Why Some Millennials Aren’t Smiling: Bad Teeth Hinder 28% In Job Search

Source: 123rf.com
Image ID: 110903258
Copyright: Dean Drobot

I am sharing this very interesting article written by Diana Hembree which explores the issue of tooth decay in the millennial population.  What in the world is happening with the millennial generation?  It seems the focus is changing, from quality care, to what is more convenient for the consumer.   What a shame.

The other issue I see here is a glaring lack of motivation on the part of millennials to correct issues which may interfere with their ability to secure gainful employment.  I can’t help but think of descriptors for this crop of young adults such as lazy, entitled, and doomed.

Here is the link to the original article:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dianahembree/2017/03/28/why-some-millennials-arent-smiling-bad-teeth-hinder-28-in-job-search/#4db0d74c59c6

by Diana Hembree

Decaying teeth and gum problems make one in three young adults aged 18 to 34 (33%) reluctant to smile, the ADA found. About one in five have cut back on socializing as a result of dental problems. And 28% say the appearance of their teeth and mouth undermines their ability to interview for a job.

The ADA study also found that:

— More than 30% of young adults have untreated tooth decay (the highest of any age group)

— 35% have trouble biting and chewing

— Some 38% of this age group find life in general “less satisfying” due to teeth and mouth problems.

— They are three times more likely than children to lack dental care due to financial reasons, with only 30% of millennials visiting the dentist each year.

The dental system is going to have to change to appeal to millennials “who are all about convenience,” periodontist and consultant to dental practitioners Marc Cooper writes on his website, masterycompany.com.

Millennials aren’t tied to the idea of a personal relationship with one dental practitioner; they are used to comparing service and costs and ordering on their smart phones — rather like calling up an Uber or Lyft — and they likely won’t tolerate inefficiency or long waits for appointments, Cooper added.

This may mean some major changes for dental providers. Today, approximately 92% of professionally active dentists work in a private practice, according to the ADA. In 2016, the ADA’s Health Policy Institute researchers surveyed millennials to gauge their interest in getting dental care in a retail setting, such as a CVS, Target or Walmart store. Overall, nearly 4 in 10 indicated that they were somewhat or very interested, including nearly half of Hispanics (47%) and African Americans (45%) surveyed.

“Millennials are not the same type of patient as a baby boomer,” says Vujicic. “We know millennials demand transparent cost and quality information when it comes to health care services. We know they place a premium on convenience.

“Health care is slow to adjust,” he added, “but the dental care system in particular is just starting to feel this wave of intensified consumerism.”

Change is already brewing: Beam Dental, a young tech company operating in about eight states with 100,000 dentists, focuses on prevention and online tools for “tech-savvy clients.” It offers coverage discounted by about 10 to 25% based partly on how well you practice good dental hygiene – which the company can monitor, with permission, through an internet-connected toothbrush that reports how often and how well you brush.

So far Beam Dental is available only through small and medium sized businesses who pay all or part of employee premiums, with a strong following among startups and millennial-oriented organizations, says Alex Frommeyer, co-founder and CEO.

“We knew that the dental industry was broken because there were over 100 million Americans without coverage,” Frommeyer says. He adds that he wants to offer affordable dental care while using online-based services “to incentivize people to invest in their own dental health.”

In the meantime, if you’re a cash-strapped millennial who needs dental care and lacks dental insurance, you may want to:

  • Check out dental schools in your area, where dental care costs much less than services from private dentists
  • Check out community college dental hygienist training programs for free or low-cost preventive care
  • Ask your dentist about a payment plan for more expensive treatments such as fillings and crowns
  • Charge your treatment to a low- or zero-interest credit card and pay it off before the interest rate goes up
  • Apply for a healthcare financing credit card from CareCredit
  • Look for a dental health fair in your area in which practitioners provide free dental screenings and care
  • See whether your community health care center offers free or low-cost dental care
  • Get treatment at the first sign of tooth pain, before it turns into something requiring a crown, root canal or emergency dental care.

MoneyGeek writer Judith Horstman contributed to this report. Horstman is a former Washington correspondent for Gannett and has written four books for Scientific American.