Affinity Health Plan

  • Health Awareness Series: Dental Health

    February 25, 2016

    Take Charge of Your Health!

    Did You Know…

    Taking care of your mouth does more than give you healthy gums and teeth. Our mouth is filled with germs and there is evidence that the germs in your mouth can cause other health problems to get worse:

    • Heart Disease – those germs in your mouth get into the blood stream. They can attach to the blood vessels and cause plaque to form. This buildup can cause a heart attack.
    • Diabetes – swelling and infection of the gums can make it harder to control blood sugar. High blood sugar causes eye, heart and kidney problems.
    • Premature Babies – untreated gum disease can cause the pregnant mother to go into labor too soon.
    How can I keep my Mouth and Teeth Healthy?
    • Brush! Brush your teeth 2x every day. Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft brush. Get a new toothbrush every 3-4 months.
    • Floss! This is the only way to get to the gum and space between your teeth. Floss your teeth and gums every day.
    • Eat Less Sugar: Sugar can cause tooth decay. Avoid sweets especially sticky candy. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables and eat healthy snacks like cheese, yogurt and popcorn, “Sugar Wars.”
    • Don’t Smoke & Don’t Chew Tobacco: Whether smoked or chewed, it stains your teeth, causes your teeth, gums and jawbone to weaken, can cause mouth cancer, mouth sores and bad breath, New York State Smokers’ Quitline.
    • Get Regular Checkups: Visit your dentist every 6 months for preventive checkups and cleanings.
    What can I do to protect my Children’s Teeth?
    • Start regular dental checkups by the age of 1 year
    • Get children started early brushing and flossing their teeth
    • Brush your child’s teeth with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste every day
    • Aim to discontinue use of the baby bottle as soon as possible after 1 year
    • Avoid sodas and sweetened drinks as much as possible: Sugar on teeth provides food for bacteria, which in turn produce acid. Acid can eat away the enamel on teeth.
    • Do not put infant or child to bed with a bottle of milk
    • Avoid prolonged use of a sippy cup (toddlers suck on it, just like a bottle)
    • Consider a mouth guard to protect against chipped or cracked teeth
    • Talk to your dentist about whether additional fluoride treatments such as fluoride gel or other fluoride supplementation is necessary for your child (in addition to the fluoride in the community water)
    • Tongue piercings can cause gum injury, chipped teeth and chronic infections
    A word from Dr. Sharon Deans, Chief Medical Officer at Affinity Health Plan:

    A Healthy mouth gives you more than just a beautiful smile. Affinity Health Plan offers Dental care. Eligible Members may visit DentaQuest website at or call 1-866-731-8004 if you need help to find a dentist.

    To learn more:

    American Dental Association (ADA)

    American Dental Association (ADA) – Sugar Wars

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


    Source: American Dental Association (ADA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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