Beyond the Brush: Exploring Preventive Care Offered by Family Dentists

Visiting the dentist is often a regular part of many people’s lives, but it can be an anxiety-inducing experience for others. Whether the anxiety stems from fear of needles, drills, pain or the cost of dental services, it’s important to find a solution that is both effective and accessible.

Providing affordable and comprehensive preventive dental care is an essential part of a family dentist’s job. Whether they are delivering routine teeth cleanings, fillings, x-rays or oral cancer screenings, it is important that they are able to address these issues at their early stages when they are easier to treat and more cost-effective.

Aside from treating the symptomatic effects of decay and gum disease, family dentists offer preventive care to help their patients develop healthy oral hygiene habits that will last a lifetime. Whether it’s brushing correctly or using a specialized toothbrush to target hard-to-reach spots, the simple act of regular brushing and flossing can significantly decrease the risk of future dental problems.

Brushing, flossing and having a well-balanced diet can also help prevent bad breath. When bad bacteria is left to build up, it can lead to periodontal (gum) disease, which can cause inflammation, swelling and bleeding of the gums and bone loss around the roots of your teeth, leading to tooth loss. Regular visits to the dentist along with proper at-home care can reduce your chances of developing gum disease, a condition that affects your overall health by increasing your risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Most dental problems can be prevented with good oral hygiene, a diet rich in vitamins and minerals, and regular visits to the dentist for a professional teeth cleaning and exam. In addition, most dental insurance plans cover these services so that there are few or no out-of-pocket costs.

For those who cannot afford or access dental care, the Affordable Care Act provides dental coverage to offset preventive dental costs. This includes annual teeth cleanings, oral exams and basic x-rays, as well as fluoride treatments for children.

The American Dental Association recommends that adults and children visit the dentist for a standard checkup and teeth cleaning twice a year to prevent dental diseases from developing. These routine appointments can identify oral health problems in their early stages, remove stubborn plaque, and polish away stain, restoring a beautiful smile while maintaining optimal oral health.

For those who do not have dental insurance, community health centers and local governments can provide low-cost or free dental care for residents in their communities. These programs are often supported by grants from the federal government and can be found in every state. In addition, private providers like family dentists can work with community organizations to provide dental care for underserved populations such as rural residents, Medicaid recipients and Native American tribes.

A Gentle Approach: Massage Therapy and Chiropractic Care For Pregnant Women

Throughout pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes dramatic changes. These changes can often cause a variety of pains and discomfort. Massage therapy can alleviate these common discomforts and support a healthy pregnancy.

In the past, studies have shown that pregnant women who receive massages on a regular basis have lower rates of miscarriage and prematurity than those that do not. This is attributed to the hormones that are released during a massage, which promote relaxation and decrease stress. When paired with exercise, massage can also help reduce the risk of low back and pelvic pain, as well as sciatic nerve pain.

Massage has also been found to help relieve nausea, vomiting and constipation that are commonly experienced during pregnancy. Massage can increase circulation, helping to eliminate the buildup of lactic acid that can lead to these uncomfortable symptoms. Additionally, massage can decrease the tension and anxiety that can be associated with pregnancy. In fact, a recent study published in the journal “Body Work and Movement Therapies” reported that pregnant women who received a weekly prenatal massage had a reduced rate of nausea and vomiting, as well as fewer incidences of heartburn and constipation.

During a typical pregnancy, the weight of a growing baby can shift the spine’s natural alignment and weaken the connective tissues. This can contribute to joint pain, stiffness and misalignment. Chiropractic adjustments can realign the spine, reduce muscular tension and improve joint mobility. Additionally, chiropractors trained in Webster technique can use specific manipulation and soft tissue release to align the pelvis in order to reduce soft tissue tightness that may be contributing to uterine torsion (a condition that leads to decreased uterine blood flow which is not good for the mother or the baby).

A common issue during pregnancy is edema, which is caused by the pressure of the enlarged uterus on the muscles of the hips, legs and feet. Chiropractors can reduce edema by using massage and specific spinal manipulation to flush the excess water. Additionally, a chiropractor can provide stretches and exercises that can be done at home to further reduce edema.

During a prenatal appointment, our chiropractors can assess each patient’s individual needs and determine the best course of treatment. They are certified in the Webster technique, trained in Herman & Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation and are also Certified Birthfit Professionals. They can recommend a variety of exercises and stretches to aid in improving posture, decreasing pain and supporting optimal fetal positioning. In addition, they can suggest modifications to your daily routine to help with digestion, sleep and support a healthier pregnancy. For more information on how you can benefit from prenatal massage and chiropractic care visit