Local News

May 12, 2014 9:14 AM by Miranda Leah - @MirandaLeahKRIS

Unhealthy Teeth in South Texas

CORPUS CHRISTI - Dental care is not a priority in our community. That's according to a national survey by the American Dental Association, which shows that those living in the south are the least likely to visit the dentist.

Among those, Hispanics and African-Americans reported the lowest number of visits.

One resident agrees, saying because he grew up in South Texas without health insurance, dental care was never a major priority in his home.

"It was always the free clinics that were open during the summer," said Victor Lara. "And that was our dental care."

Local doctor Haysam Dawod said that's always been the mindset here in South Texas, and it's not healthy.

"Like any other problem, the longer you ignore it, not only becomes more complicated, but it gets more expensive," said Dawod. "So if the cost is the reason why you don't go see the dentist, that should be the reason why you should go see the dentist early and do the preventive, because preventive dentistry is very inexpensive and very affordable."

He thinks one of the main issues is lack of education.

"For fifty, sixty years, the dental profession has been advocating getting your teeth cleaned regularly, floss your teeth, brush your teeth," said Dawod. "But you know, I think it's going to take more than that. I think we need to go out there in the community."

Lara agrees that outreach is important, and said getting the message to young people should be a priority.

"If you don't start from young and work at it all the way through," said Lara. "You're going to experience diseases that are going to end your life."

The American Dental Association recommends that adults see a dentist at least once a year, because bad oral care is linked to arthritis, diabetes, and even heart disease.

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