The Georgia Dental Association Foundation for Oral Health (GDAF) has launched “Healthy Mouth, Healthy Me!” The campaign aims to educate state residents about the connections between oral and overall health by telling the stories of real Georgians and how regular dental visits help keep them healthy.
Regular dental visits can prevent many oral health issues and reveal signs of other diseases and medical conditions that have oral symptoms, the GDAF says. These visits also allow dentists to monitor oral health and can help prevent minor issues from becoming larger problems, the GDAF adds.
Not enough Georgians go to the dentist regularly, even though 92% say they value a healthy mouth and believe those visits are necessary for good oral health, the GDAF says. Also, only 55% of Georgians with private dental benefits coverage have seen a dentist in the past 12 months, the GDAF reports.
“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,” said Frank J. Capaldo, executive director of the GDA.
A new website, healthymouthhealthyme.org, will showcase real Georgians and how regular dental visits keep them healthy and smiling, the GDAF says. A social media component on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter will reach residents online. Plus, dentists will have new materials to raise awareness of the connection between oral and overall health.
For example, Deena Bohannon goes to the dentist to prevent problems with her teeth and ensure she has teeth that last a lifetime. She has been seeing her GDA member dentist, Dr. Robin Reich, for the past eight years.
“My mother had dentures, and I know how difficult life can be without your own teeth,” Bohannon said. “By visiting my dentist regularly, I can keep my mouth healthy and handle any problems that arise before they become something bigger.”
“Dentistry is changing all the time,” said 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, the GDAF says, and more than 125 diseases or health problems may be affected by oral health. These issues may include cardiovascular disease, dementia, respiratory infections, pregnancy complications, infertility, erectile dysfunction, kidney disease, and rheumatoid arthritis
Poor oral health also can lead to missed days at work, reduced social participation, difficulty with speech, problems sleeping, and anxiety, the GDAF says. For example:
- 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 experience 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 website healthymouthhealthyme.org also features an updated list of all GDA member dentists in the state and enables potential patients to select a dentist based on location and specialty.
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