This week is National Public Health Week. Nothing is more important than our health. We can have all the money in the world, but if our health is poor, so is our quality of life.
“Public Health Week raises awareness about the importance of active living, healthy eating, disease prevention, and mental and emotional well being,” said Amy Gonczeruk, Operations Manager at Rolling Hills Clinic, which is sponsored by the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, owners of Rolling Hills Casino.
The Tribe’s commitment to community health began long before the establishment of the Rolling Hills Clinic. Over the past ten years, the Tribe has contributed thousands of dollars to local health care facilities to purchase life-saving equipment and an ambulance.
One area of public health concern that Amy believes doesn't get enough attention is dental care. “Dental care plays a major role in both a person’s physical and mental health; however, it’s generally not given much attention during National Public Health Week. As we celebrate National Public Health Week, we wanted to raise attention to the importance of dental care including orthodontia."
According to the American Public Health Association of Dentistry, tooth decay is highly preventable, yet it is a common chronic disease in the United States. Evidence shows that decay and other oral diseases may be associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other medical problems.
Dentists have this advice for keeping teeth healthy:
- Brush teeth at least twice a day.
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
- Floss daily.
- Eat a healthy diet and limit between-meal snacks.
- Schedule regular dental checkups.
Orthodontics also has a positive effect on dental care and overall health. Studies show that adolescents who complete orthodontic treatment have fewer oral health-related problems later in life compared to those who have never had orthodontic treatment.
Most patients consider orthodontics for a more attractive smile. However, orthodontics offers other enduring benefits for a patient’s dental and physical health. It can be difficult to brush and floss between teeth that are crowded or overlapping, so orthodontic treatment can help patients do a better job of keeping their mouths clean. Misaligned teeth can wear unevenly, too, because some teeth may be more stressed or pressured during chewing than others. When an orthodontist straightens the teeth, it also corrects this problem, which can have a negative effect on a patient’s nutrition and diet. In addition to straightening the teeth, orthodontics can also correct problems with the jaw’s alignment. This benefit of orthodontic treatment may help to prevent or alleviate the symptoms of TMJ disorders, which can also lead to headaches and neck pain in addition to jaw discomfort, when the patient gets older.
The physical benefits of orthodontic treatment are evident, but the psychological benefits of orthodontics are also important. Those with straighter teeth generally have more self-confidence and feel more at ease in social situations.
The clinic offers a no-cost orthodontic for qualifying youth ages 12 through 17 living in the Red Bluff and Corning areas. “It’s an amazing program with a capacity of 22 youth,” said Amy. The program was made possible by a generous grant from Jim and Veronica Horton.
Those interested in finding out more about the program or needing dental care in general, can call 690-2827 for the Corning Clinic, 740 Solano Street, or 690-2778 for the Red Bluff Clinic, 2540 Sister Mary Columba drive. Rolling Hills Clinic accepts Medicare, Medi-Cal, Denti-Cal, California Healthy Families Program and most private insurance. . To learn more about its services or physicians, please visit www.rhclinic.org.