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In an advance toward solving a 50-year-old mystery, scientists are reporting new evidence on how the fluoride in drinking water, toothpastes, mouth rinses and other oral-care products prevents tooth decay.    Their report appears in the ACS journal Langumir. Research established long ago that fluoride helps to harden the enamel coating that protects teeth from the acid produced by decay-causing bacteria. Newer studies already found that fluoride penetrates into and hardens a much thinner layer of enamel than previously believed, lending credence to other theories about how fluoride works.

Beavers don’t brush their teeth or drink fluoridated water, but a new study reports beavers do have protection against tooth decay built into the chemical structure of their teeth: iron. This pigmented enamel, the researchers found, is both harder and more resistant to acid than regular enamel, including that treated with fluoride.

A new study is calling on dental teams to alert parents to the oral health risk of sharing spoons with toddlers at mealtimes. It coincides with the latest figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre that show nearly 26,000 children, aged five to nine, were admitted to hospital in England in 2013-14 with tooth decay.   Now dental therapists are warning that children’s oral health must begin at home, with parents and caregivers given a comprehensive education if preventive measures are to be successful

Education about flossing is important and we need to be clear about the benefits regular dental flossing can have. Alongside dentist visits and brushing twice a day the message of proper cleaning technique needs to be learn and practice by everyone.

Cleaning between your teeth is a critical part of good oral hygiene as it helps to prevent gum disease by helping to remove plaque from these areas. Flossing is a key part of your daily dental care habits that helps you maintain your oral health care.  Studies show that in addition to problems inside the mouth, in recent years gum disease has been linked with general health conditions such as diabetes, strokes, cardiovascular disease, poor pregnancy outcomes and even dementia.

Question: I am self employed, and do not have dental insurance currently. I am wondering if a buying a family dental plan is really worth it or not.  I have two teeth that are starting to bother me and would like to see a dentist.  My wife and son are okay, but I would like for them to go in for a dental check up. The few dental discount plans I have reviewed do not seem like they are really saving you money when a crown still can cost up to $300–$400 that does not seem like a big saving to me.

I have looked at a few dental insurance plans as well, but with the waiting periods and cost of those plans being much higher, they too do not seem like I would be saving anything by buying them.  So what should I be looking for to help me with my dental cost?

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In a prior post we talked about how not all younger children can go to a general or family dentist and when buying a dental insurance plan you want to make sure it provides coverages for Pediatric dentist.   PPO plans may be the best choice for this. As they have a broader range of in network providers and in most cases provide benefits for out side network providers. This is helpful when having to go to a Pediatric dentist.

However, PPO plans are not a plan type you buy for short term use as they normally come with waiting periods.  Therefore you want to buy a PPO plan in order to be prepared for your babies future dental care needs.  Read plan terms and conditions carefully before buying any dental insurance so you will be able to pick the best plan for you and your family

When reviewing dental HMO’s plans, one important part of having the plan work the best for you is having a dentist within the plan network you will want to go to. HMO’s dental insurance plan do not provide any benefits/coverage’s for dental offices that are not a provider of the plan. There for choosing a plan provider is very important. I suggest when choosing an in-network provider of an HMO insurance plan make sure to call the dental office up prior to buying the plan. Verify that they are still accepting the plan and new members. Confirm anything that may be important to you in picking a plan provider. Such as business hours, how far booked up they may be, location, years in practice, that they are doing the type of dental care services you may feel you need and anything else that would be important to you.

When buying a PPO plan using the plan network of providers is normally going to provide you greater value.  Although most PPO plans do provide benefits for outside net work dentist (dentist not a provider of the plan) they will in some cases reduce the coverages provided under the plan for non provider use. Such as maybe the plan pays 100 percent for preventive care with plan providers but only pays 80 percent when you choose a dentist not in the plan network of providers.

Even if the PPO plan you are reviewing dose not reduce their benefits for out of network dental providers, you still run a risk of having a greater chance of UCR(Usual, Customary and Reasonable) fees.  Since inside network providers have mostly agree to reduce their cost to stay within the plan UCR rates and non provider have made no such concession

Question: I looking for both Dental and Vision insurance in one plan or at least two very affordable plans. I live in California.

Answer: For both dental and vision in one plan we have PPO’s plans though StandardLife dental and AlwaysCare that provides vision benefits as well.   We also have lower cost HMO plans though California dental and PrimareCare although they do not include vision we also have a vision web site www.bestvisionplans.com that has a low cost vision insurance options though VSP   Another option for both dental and vision would be reviewing our dental discount plans though Careington and Aetna both also come with  discounted savings for vision and Rx

Did you know even if you are the type of person that is lucky enough to never have any large dental care needs, having dental insurance will still save you money?  That right. Most dental insurance plans provide preventive dental services such as your twice a year checks, cleaning’s and X-rays for free to very little cost.

When you take into account that low cost plans such as HMO’s run around $8.00 – $20.00 dollars a month for individuals (and not that much more for families.) Your saving for preventive services alone for the year can be up to a couple hundred dollars. If you do not currently have dental insurance now is a good time to think about buying some and saving money off your dental care needs.

Regardless of how good your dental insurance plan may be, it only really benefits you if you use it.  Do not wait to use your dental insurance until you have dental pain and or other issues. Most dental insurance plan provide free to low cost preventive dental care services. They do this in order to help prevent you from having larger dental care needs in the future.  Yet many people still but off their route office visit and check ups. This dose not only increase your risk of having to have larger dental care services in the future but do to delay dental care it can cost your more money in the long run.

When shopping for an HMO dental insurance plan and or a dental discount plan, it is important to make sure they have an in network provider (dentist) you wish to go to.  Both of these dental plan types required you to pick a plan provider or go to plan providers. There is no benefits and or savings when going to a dental provider that is not an in network dentist of the plan.

When shopping for dental insurance you want to make sure that it provides coverage’s that will be cost effective for the type of dental care services you will be needing.  Such as if you need a dental crown it may not be cost effective for you to buy a dental insurance plan that has waiting periods for major needs such as crowns.    By reviewing each plans benefits carefully you will be able to select a dental insurance plan that best fits your needs and your budget.

When teaching your children good dental habits you want to start sooner then latter. Despite great strides in decay prevention, one in four young children develops signs of tooth decay before they start school. Half of all children between the ages of 12 and 15 have cavities.  Your child dental care should begin as soon as the first tooth appears, usually around six months. Teeth can be wiped with a clean, damp cloth or a very soft brush. At around the age of two, you can let your child/children try brushing their teeth themselves, although it is still important to supervise them..

When buying a Dental PPO or Indemnity insurance plan, make sure to pay attention to the maximum amount of coverage allowed. A comprehensive plan should have at least a $1,000 maximum coverage, but the average range is between $1,000 – $2,000.   A major dental procedure can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, and you can easily max out your insurance in one trip. When comparing different dental insurance plans, compare the coverage limits. Higher limits usually require higher premiums, but they may be worth it if you require multiple dental procedures.

When shopping for dental insurance, focus on preventative coverage if you are young and have healthy teeth and gums. Many dental insurance plans covers 80-100% of preventative dental care including bi-yearly check-ups, cleaning’s, and X-rays. By focusing on obtaining coverage for these routine procedures, you can help prevent the need for more extensive procedures like root canals in the future.

When buying a HMO insurance plan or a Dental discount plan make sure to evaluate the network of dentists before buying. Not all dental insurance/discount plans have extensive networks of dental care providers. Before you sign up for a plan, make sure there are qualified dentists in your area. You should have several to choose from in case you decide that you do not like a particular dentist. Most plans will allow you to browse their provider directory prior to purchasing the insurance. If an insurer will not allow you to do that, take that is a red flag and find another insurer.

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