October 2018 - Dental Hygiene Awareness
A Message from Your Hometown Health Manager
It’s the start of the 2018-2019 Wellness Program year, which means you are once again eligible to earn Visa gift cards for engaging in Hometown Health wellness program activities. If you are new to our program, be sure to check out the “Rewards” tab after you log into your Wellness Portal  to see which wellness activities are available for you to earn credit toward your rewards! One of the key offerings is access to FREE one-on-one health coaching sessions. If you have not taken advantage of this service in the past, I highly encourage you to give it a try!

Our health coaches provider personalized support, guidance, and planning to help you incorporate healthy choices into your days. Some of the areas they are able to assist with include stress, nutrition, exercises and smoking cessation. If you need assistance with your online portal or have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our WebMD Customer Support and Health Coaching line by dialing 855-667-2546. They are available seven days a week.

Be on the lookout for information from your municipality’s Human Resources department regarding upcoming onsite Biometric Health Screenings and Flu Shot Clinics . You will earn a $25 Visa gift card for completing your online health assessment and health screening! If you are unable to attend an onsite event, you can access the Physician Qualification Form to take to your physician for completion. Completion and submission of this form will still count toward your reward.

I am always looking for participant feedback. If you would like to share your feedback about your experience engaging in the Hometown Health program, please email me at gmahabir@flcities.com.

All the Best,

Gwen Mahabir
Gum Disease: Do You Know the Early Warning Signs?
When you’re a 5-year-old, it can be exciting to lose a tooth.  Cue the tooth fairy.  When you’re a grown-up, the magic is gone.

Among adults, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss, according to the National Institutes of Health. Here are more facts about this common, sometimes painful, problem — including the warning signs and tips to help you safeguard your smile.

Q.  What is it?

A.  Gum disease — also called periodontal disease  —  involves swelling of the tissue around teeth. In many cases, it starts off as a mild problem. But it can be severe enough to damage the tissue and bone that hold the teeth in place.
The good news is it’s preventable. And when caught early, gum disease may be slowed or even stopped.

Q.  What causes it?

A.  It starts when bacteria from foods form plaque on the teeth. Over time, those germs can irritate the gums. Without treatment, infected pockets may form around the teeth — and harm the bones, gums and tissue that support them.

Water Fluoridation Basics
The mineral fluoride occurs naturally on earth and is released from rocks into the soil, water, and air. All water contains some fluoride. Usually, the fluoride level in water is not enough to prevent tooth decay; however, some groundwater and natural springs can have naturally high levels of fluoride.

Fluoride has been proven to protect teeth from decay. Bacteria in the mouth produce acid when a person eats sugary foods. This acid eats away minerals from the tooth’s surface, making the tooth weaker and increasing the chance of developing cavities. Fluoride helps to rebuild and strengthen the tooth’s surface, or enamel. Water fluoridation prevents tooth decay by providing frequent and consistent contact with low levels of fluoride. By keeping the tooth strong and solid, fluoride stops cavities from forming and can even rebuild the tooth’s surface.
Community water fluoridation is the process of adjusting the amount of fluoride found in water to achieve optimal prevention of tooth decay.

Although other fluoride-containing products, such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and dietary supplements are available and contribute to the prevention and control of tooth decay, community water fluoridation has been identified as the most cost-effective method of delivering fluoride to all, reducing tooth decay by 25% in children and adults.

Children’s Oral Health 
Cavities (also known as caries or tooth decay) are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States. Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning. Children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don’t.

  • About 1 of 5 (20%) children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth.1
  • 1 of 7 (13%) adolescents aged 12 to 19 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth.1
  • Children aged 5 to 19 years from low-income families are twice as likely (25%) to have cavities, compared with children from higher-income households (11%)

The good news is that cavities are preventable. Fluoride varnish can prevent about one-third (33%) of cavities in the primary (baby) teeth. 2 Children living in communities with fluoridated tap water have fewer cavities than children whose water is not fluoridated .  Similarly, children who brush daily with fluoride toothpaste will have fewer cavities. Dental sealants can also prevent cavities for many years. Applying dental sealants to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth prevent 80% of cavities.

Caring for Your Mouth During Pregnancy
When you’re pregnant, you’re not only eating for two. You’re also brushing for two. Taking care of your teeth and gums may make a difference for your baby’s health, both before your baby is born and after birth.

How pregnancy affects your mouth
Being pregnant can be hard on your teeth and gums. For instance, if you have morning sickness, it can be difficult to brush and floss. And if you’re vomiting a lot, the acid can harm your tooth enamel.

Eating between meals may increase your risk of tooth decay. Plus, hormone changes can lead to an increased risk of gingivitis. Gingivitis can lead to gum disease, which has been linked with pregnancy complications.

How your mouth affects your baby
After you give birth, the health of your mouth may affect the health of your baby. If you have tooth decay, germs from your mouth can be passed to your baby. This can happen when you share a spoon or clean a pacifier in your mouth, for example. Those germs may later cause decay in your baby’s teeth.

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