Healthy Country: Healthy Veterans
There are over 22 million veterans in this country who proudly served, but when they returned home from their service have a difficult time with employment and health issues. Although the Veterans Administration provides medical to all who served, dental is only provided to those that are 100% disabled. A high percentage of veterans self-report fair to poor dental health, and oral problems made it difficult for them to eat. Those that were unemployed, experiencing financial strain, or who smoked, were prescribed antidepressants, or prescribed selective serotonin inhibitors were more likely to report poor or fair dental health.
There are conditions that are linked to poor oral health
• Endocarditis. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.
• Cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
• Pregnancy and birth. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
Good oral health should be a primary concern for our veterans and putting them first should be of primary focus. There are practicing dentists that look to support our veterans and have a veteran program. If you know a veteran that is experiencing any problems with their oral health, it is important to have them look into veteran support services from the Veterans Administration or a local dentist who is willing to help those who served.