Dental health screenings can help keep you healthy from head to toe.

Dental health screenings can help keep you healthy from head to toe.

One of the great benefits of having a good dental insurance plan is that regular appointments for teeth cleaning and oral exams are covered. One big reason for this is that insurance companies know a focus on prevention can actually help an individual lower their future costs for dental repairs.

But there’s another reason why your dentist and oral hygienist want to see you twice a year: to help keep you healthy from head to toe.

During a routine visit to the dentist, several serious diseases (such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease) can be detected. If you’re like many people, there’s a good chance you see your dental hygienist more frequently than you see your general practitioner.

So how great is it that dental hygienists are trained to screen their patients for signs and symptoms that may indicate problems in other parts of the body?

Pretty great.

In fact, during a dental health screening, a trained oral health practitioner can spot over 120 signs and symptoms of non-dental diseases.

…a trained oral health practitioner can spot over 120 signs and symptoms of non-dental diseases.

If that sounds like it would be time consuming, well, it is. Trying to fit an oral hygiene exam, scaling and polishing, and a doctor exam into a one hour appointment can be a major challenge.

Early detection and prompt referrals

The good news is: the more frequently you have your teeth professionally cleaned, the less time your hygienist will need to spend scaling and polishing your teeth, and the more time will be available for your oral care team to devote to overall health screening, early detection of any concerns, and prompt referral to a primary care provider.

If all you want is a brighter smile, then that may sound like it’s a waste of time.

But if you ask them, your dentist and oral hygienist will very likely tell you they have a bigger goal in mind for you: keeping you healthy all over, so you’ll have every reason to smile.

Learn more about your oral health.

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Learn 3 things you can do to take better care of your eyes.

January is National Eye Care Month. Are you taking good care of your eyes?

It’s important to get into a routine of good vision and eye care, even if you don’t have any vision-related issues and can see perfectly well.

Here are three things you can do to make sure you’re taking the best possible care of your eyes.

1. Have an eye exam at least every 2 years

Proper vision and eye care begins with regular exams.

Even people who think their vision is fine need to have regular eye exams. Exams allow trained eye doctors to detect eye-related health issues. Things like age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic eye disease that can creep up without any warning signs or that need to be addressed in their early stages.

…always seek professional help if you experience any problem with your eyes…

Of course, you should always seek professional help if you experience any problem with your eyes. For example, if you have trouble seeing, swelling or secretions, sensitivity to light, eye pain, or see light flashes or dark floating spots, be sure you have your doctor take a look.

If you wear contacts, are over 60, or know you have eye disease or other risk factors like high blood pressure or diabetes in your family history, you may need to have eye exams more often.

Not sure how often you should have an eye exam? Ask your doctor how often she needs to look at your eyes.

2. Observe daily vision and eye care basics

There are also a number of daily eye care basics that you may want to put into practice. Whether you are working, at play, or even just taking it easy, you should know how to protect your eyes with the right kind of eyewear.

Those who wear contacts need to know how to handle them and keep them clean. And everyone can benefit from some simple steps to avoid eyestrain throughout the day.

Learn more about these vision and eye care basics.

3. Invest in the ongoing health of your eyes

Vision insurance is a type of health plan that can help you to pay for some of the basic costs of vision care. It’s not like a health plan, though. Health plans may cover you for eye-related injuries or diseases — if something like that comes along.

Vision plans, on the other hand, are designed to help you keep your eyes in good health all the time. The goal is to help you save on the cost of routine care and prevention.

The goal of a vision plan is to help you save on the cost of routine care and prevention.

There are several types of vision plans. The three main ones are add-on plans, stand-alone plans, and discount vision plans.

As is true for most insurance plans, the costs for vision plans vary. They depend on what type of plan you are interested in, the plan’s exact details, and the state you live in.

Learn more about vision plans.