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Prevention is better than cure

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There’s this myth about health that many of us hold-whether consciously or otherwise- ‘if it doesn’t hurt, it’s all good.’

It’s a rare soul that seeks out a doctor when all feels and looks well and even rarer when it comes to matters dental. That mentality however costs us more than we care to admit. Patients sometimes come to the dentist confessing that they’ve been nursing some mild pain or discomfort for some time now but thought it would just go away with home remedies and a bit of good luck.

Well unfortunately lady luck doesn’t smile on them and they end up coming in a lot of pain, infection or when the damage is such that precious teeth have to be extracted or the cost to salvage them is eye-popping. Well it doesn’t have to be that way. The ideal scenario and if we truly care about our health as well as our pockets- is that we visit a dentist at least once a year whether or not you feel there’s a problem. Many are the times we look into a patient’s mouth and all looks normal clinically, and then send for x-rays and all kinds of things show up- cavities on the sides of teeth, buried teeth, bone conditions and the like.

If we were all conscious about prevention, the overall cost of healthcare in our country would drastically reduce, but as it is, ours is currently a curative services-centred healthcare system. I cannot fail to mention cancer in this October month. My heart bleeds when I hear people dying from common cancers that are easily treated if detected early. The related financial, emotional and social costs of neglecting to undergo annual check-ups or at the very least seek care when symptoms are mild- are astronomical. We are our own worst enemies in this regard. In Germany for example, it is mandatory to undergo annual health check in order to be retained in the state-run medical insurance scheme. That in my opinion is the direction we should be heading as a country. Meanwhile, don’t wait for pain to visit your dentist. Mark your calendar and be deliberate to book an appointment for yourself and those under your care. You and your pocket will be the happier for it.

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