Hispanics place oral Health at risk by cutting back on routine dental care

May 27, 2009
In wake of recent poll results, a dental expert notes importance of regular oral care to protect areas that dentists check most frequently.

MIAMI, Florida--Results from a 2008 Gallup-Healthways poll show that 42 percent of Hispanics have not visited the dentist in the past 12 months even though the American Dental Association recommends having regular check-ups and cleanings twice a year.

In contrast, 29 percent of all Americans responded that they did not see a dentist in the prior year.

As reported by USA Today, according to Gallup, more than half of those making less than $2,000 a month reported omitting visits, too. These results may indicate that the tight economy is forcing many Americans to cut back on dental care.

Dr. Cesar Sabates, vice president of the Florida Dental Association, is collaborating with Crest Pro-Health to raise awareness in the Hispanic community of the importance of taking care of their oral health, even in times of financial strain while making sure they are paying attention to and caring for the key areas that dentists check the most: cavities, gingivitis, plaque, stain, sensitivity, and breath.

"Skipping regular dental care is risky and can lead to serious and costly tooth and gum problems in the long run," said Sabates. "Having a daily dental care routine that includes a toothpaste that helps prevent conditions like cavities and gum disease among others, such as Crest Pro-Health, is an optimal and preventative way to maintain a healthy mouth all year round especially when regular visits to the dentist are not possible."

According to Crest, some studies have indicated that there may be a link between gum disease and a number of health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes.

The American Dental Association recommends the following tips for daily oral care:

* Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth, allowing you to reach all areas easily.

* When choosing any dental product, like your toothpaste, look for the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance, an important symbol of a dental product's safety and effectiveness.

* Cleaning between the teeth once a day with floss or interdental cleaners removes plaque from between the teeth, areas where the toothbrush can't reach. This process is essential in preventing periodontal (gum) disease.

"It is unfortunate to see that, due to the current financial situation, many Hispanics have had to forgo their visits to the dentist, but they should know that investing pennies a day on the proper toothpaste can lower the risk of potential oral health problems in the future. We hope to encourage members of the Hispanic community to maintain good dental care habits at home so they can have a healthy, beautiful smile," said Anelsie Ramos, external relations manager for P&G.

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