|We must stop treating nutrition separately from health
We must stop treating mental health separately from bodily health
We must stop treating dental health separately from bodily health, mental health, and nutrition.
Dental health connects with nutrition because what we eat and drink has a huge impact on our teeth and our gums.
Dental health connects with mental health because people under mental stress or who are depressed often grind their teeth and/or develop TMJ, which can really wreck the teeth.
Dental health connects with bodily health in too many ways to enumerate - mouth bacteria can cause heart disease is just one example.
Dental health connects with poverty - those who are poor often lack access to regular dental care before their mouths become war zones.
Dental health declines in the inner city and in rural areas. In both case access to health care professionals is far less than in the suburbs and in the "better" neighborhoods of our urban areas.
Health, especially dental health, seems to indicate a lack of concern for the poor and those of color who tend to be more heavily poor.
Many in the dental field care deeply about those not receiving care. Dentists and their assistants volunteer. Dental students clamor to be allowed to participate. Medical students at Virginia Commonwealth, which is also the site of the Commonwealth's only dental school, also seek to be allowed to participate in these events.
IF we do not honestly address the dental crisis in this country, we can far too easily undermine the work we are doing to ensure quality medical care for all in our nation - well, at least all who are not undocumented aliens.
If you have your teeth, take care of them.
If you care about others, help enable them to take care of their teeth as well.
Now I have to go shower, get dressed, and go volunteer. Oh yeah, and before I go, I will brush my teeth.
Remember, brush yours as well. AND FLOSS.
And then please, do something to help the millions in this country who lack full access to dental care.