By Diane Lee, Public Information Officer, Garrett County Health Department
Anyone who has ever had a tooth ache knows it can take over your life and keep you from doing even the simplest things. Brushing and flossing daily, combined with the body’s natural defenses, is the best way to maintain good oral health.
Without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. When this happens, the only solution is visiting a dentist.
The Garrett County Health Department’s Dental Care Center is collaborating with Mountain Laurel Medical Center and CareFirst to assist their patients with access to dental services. The partnership also includes Allegany County Health Department. The program uses grant funding to help qualifying patients with exams, cleanings, extractions, routine X-rays, fillings, and other preventative care.
“We wish we could make this service available to everyone, but this particular grant is specifically for Mountain Laurel patients,” said McKenzie Wotring, Clinical Coordinator for the Dental Care Center at the Garrett County Health Department. “However, our clinic uses a sliding fee scale to calculate what the patient owes based on their family income. Currently, we have a waiting list for appointments, but we are working hard to add additional staff to keep up with patient demand.”
Maintaining good oral hygiene is not only to keep your teeth looking nice. Poor oral hygiene can lead to problems that are much bigger than an unpleasant smile. Tooth decay and gingivitis, also known as gum disease, can affect other parts of your body, specifically your heart.
Good oral health translates into good overall health. Dental problems such as cavities or gingivitis can keep you from eating and speaking properly and can cause pain as well as halitosis, better known as bad breath. Many people may not realize that poor dental health can have a very negative effect on other areas of your body, including your heart, diabetes, pregnancy, and chronic inflammation, such as arthritis — to name a few.
Keys to good dental hygiene include brushing for at least two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily and seeing your dentist every six months for check-ups and dental cleanings. Diet is just as important. Keeping sugar intake to a minimum is vital. Alcohol consumption should be in moderation. And smoking, or any type of tobacco use, should be avoided.
The grant’s objectives are to provide care to those at risk for dental health issues, make sure they have no barriers to making their appointments, and promote the advantages of routine dental preventive care.
For more information about dental health, call your primary dentist. If you are a patient of Mountain Laurel in Garrett or Allegany Counties, and are in need of dental care, speak to your primary care physician about this dental grant. To contact the Garrett County Health Department Dental Care Center, call 301-334-7660. All patients wishing to utilize the grant must first be approved by Mountain Laurel Medical Center.
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