The new year is here and many of us have set goals for a better, brighter year. Some of us have set out to improve our health by eating better and exercising more. Others have set a goal to save money and spend less. We have all noticed that everything a person needs to buy has become more expensive. Groceries and other daily necessities are things that have become tough to afford for many families and individuals living on a budget.

The following tips can help improve your health and help save money on your and your family’s dental care. Poor dental health can be painful, costly, and can affect your overall health. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy can help you save money on unnecessary dental visits and it can also help you have a healthier, happier smile all year long.

Keep up on daily oral health habits.

Daily oral health habits are one of the best ways to save money on dental care! A daily dental care routine can protect your teeth from cavities, dental disease, injuries, and other health problems. Please remember to help your children and family members with special needs with their daily dental care.

  • Follow a good daily dental care routine.
    • Brush thoroughly for two (2) minutes, twice (2) a day using a fluoride toothpaste. This helps remove plaque buildup that can turn into tartar and cause gum disease.
    • Floss at least once (1) a day. Cleaning between your teeth removes plaque and food particles where a toothbrush can’t reach.
    • Clean your dentures. If you use dentures, brush them first to remove any bits of food and then soak them in a denture cleanser solution.
  • Make wise food and beverage choices.
    • Eat more homemade meals. This costs a lot less than eating out daily. Prepare meals with nutritious foods such as lean meats, vegetables, and whole grains for strong teeth and healthy gums. Click here for easy, low cost, healthy recipes for the whole family.
    • Choose tap water over sugary beverages. Tap water is cheaper, has no added sugar, and is fluoridated to help prevent cavities.
  • Purchase dental products in value packs.
    • Buy fluoride toothpaste, toothbrushes, and other dental care products in multi-packs. This helps save money overtime and ensures you always have oral care supplies to maintain a healthy smile.
  • Quit smoking.
    • This is a huge savings in your wallet and helps lower costly dental and health care expenses from tobacco use. The average cost of a pack of cigarettes in California is $8.90 (tobaccofreekids.org). Free quit smoking and vaping services are available for Orange County residents. Visit 1-866-New Lung or call (1-866-639-5864).
  • Use a mouthguard.
    • A mouth guard or mouth protector can help lower the risk of broken teeth and injuries to the lips, tongue, face, or jaw. Use a mouthguard during sports and other recreational activities to save on an emergency room visit.

Visit the dentist regularly.

  • Keep routine dental appointments.
    • Dental exams allow a dentist to detect and treat dental problems before they become painful and costly. It is less expensive to treat cavities and gum disease in their minor stages. Routine dental cleanings can help prevent tooth decay and dental disease.
  • Talk to your dentist about preventive dental services.
    • Ask your dentist about dental sealants and varnishes for your children. These are often covered at little to no cost through a dental plan. You may also receive a free toothbrush from your dentist’s office.

Look into a dental coverage plan.

  • A dental plan can help make dental care more affordable.
    • A dental insurance plan can help cover some of the cost of certain dental work such as a root canal, filling, or extraction. A dental plan can also help with preventive dental services such as dental checkups and regular dental cleanings, which are at no cost or at a much lower cost to you.
    • It is important to evaluate the right dental insurance plan for your needs, learn what a dental plan covers, and how much to pay out of pocket. Click here a step-by-step guide on selecting the right dental plan from Delta Dental. You can also learn more about dental plans for you or your family by visiting Covered California.

Click on the images below for additional resources to help you save money on dental care.

Visit Smile Habits OC

Find dental care information and resources for the whole family.

Find a Dentist

See a list of low-cost community dental and health centers in OC for persons who have Medi-Cal, other insurance, are uninsured, or cannot afford care.

Eating Better on a Budget

Get the most for your budget. Ten (10) tips from MyPlate to help you save money on the foods you eat.

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