By Health Day
Many Americans aren't giving enough attention to a key element of good health that's right under their nose.
A major report from the Institute of Medicine is raising the alarm that many Americans aren't doing enough to keep their gums, teeth, and the rest of their mouths in good working order.
Though millions of Americans aren't getting the oral health care they need, this problem is affecting some groups more than others, according to the authors. For example, 4.6 million children didn't get the dental care they needed in 2008 because their families couldn't afford it. And in 2006, just 38 percent of retired people had dental coverage.
In addition, many areas or groups of people don't have enough dental professionals around, and the nation would need about 9,600 more to meet these needs. When it comes to solutions, the report urges the government to improve programs and accessibility.
Poor oral health can affect your overall health. Gum disease has been linked to a host of health issues, including cardiovascular disease and problems in pregnancy. So be sure to make an effort to keep your mouth as healthy as the rest of your body.