One of the most common questions I hear from my patients is, “Why is dental health care so expensive?”

My answer: It doesn’t have to cost a lot, nor should it. Dental neglect is what’s expensive.

My goal with everybody who comes into our office is for them to need less dental care – fewer fillings and root canals, fewer gum infections, etc. Those procedures are what’s expensive and, believe it or not, I want to do less of them.

The way you avoid them is by keeping your mouth really clean, and that involves taking the time every day to brush your teeth properly. That means spending 5 to 7 minutes. That might sound like a long time – maybe quite a bit longer than you spend now – but think of it as an investment. You’re investing a little bit of time now to save a lot of money later. And that’s not to mention the pain you’re saving yourself!

If you take care of your mouth and have dental insurance, you might pay little to nothing for your once- or twice-a-year cleanings and preventive care. And even if you don’t have insurance, you’re looking at maybe $500 a year tops – maybe half that if you do a really good job yourself.

Compare that to the cost of a filling, or extraction, or gum disease. And then there are the other health problems attributable to having a dirty mouth. For example, insurance companies are finding that of their customers who have diabetes, the ones who take care of their dental needs, the cost of their hospital needs for diabetes decrease by as much as $4,000 a year. Another study shows that if you can eliminate gum disease in pregnant women in the United States, you’ll save over 40,500 pre-term births.

In every episode of the “Your Filthy Mouth” podcast, we emphasize how you can’t have a healthy body without a healthy mouth. This week, in addition to explaining more about how investing a little time now can save a lot of money in the future, we share an easy, inexpensive way to see just how good you’re brushing your teeth. We also answer a few other frequently asked questions:

Hear the answers to these questions and learn more about Your Filthy Mouth on this week’s episode. And if you have a question or comment, we want to hear it. Just click the “Ask Dr. Chuck” button or email us.

Until next week …

Charles “Dr. Chuck” Reinertsen, DMD, has been practicing dentistry in Central Florida since 1979 and is author of the book, “The Power of a Really Great Smile.” His passion is spreading the word about how the health of your mouth is intrinsically linked to the rest of your body. Learn more at