When it comes to health, your smile can be where it all starts.
“Most of the time we don’t think about this, but if we think about its just an example, everything we eat, it goes through the mouth and leads to the body, if we have any bacteria anything in one of our teeth we going to have that spread into the body.“ dentist Joan Pino says.
According to the American Dental Association, an unhealthy mouth may increase your risk of serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and bacterial pneumonia.
“You can have any people come in with a headache or pain in the body and you don’t realize that it starts with the teeth,” he says.
And in certain communities, one of the most common dental issues is not being able to access preventative care that can help stop issues before they become more serious.
“The sergeant general says low-income families are four times less likely to get dental care than higher income families.“ Pam Murphy says.
The Shenandoah County Free Clinic is trying to combat that in their county.
“We’re trying to spread more, we are trying to do surgical extractions, root canals, even just cleanings, regular fillings, we’re working right now with some, bridge crowns,“ Pino says.
The clinic is offering care to those in the county who qualify for it financially, and with the help of Virginia’s Medicaid expansion, they say now even more people are able to get dental services they’ve avoided due to cost or lack of education. Pam Murphy and Joan Pino says the change starts with children.
We see it all the time for one thing some school personnel have brought children into us basically saying this child only eats applesauce and macaroni and cheese and we suddenly realize it’s a dental problem.“ Murphy says.
“If we do preventive treatments on our kids, they won’t have the problems that most have, if the kids are really educated in dentistry, in dental health, I think that’s the key to success for our kids in general,“ Pino says.
The Shenandoah County Free Clinic offers medical, dental, and counseling services in Woodstock and at an elementary school satellite campus they’ve recently opened in Quicksburg, Virginia.