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  • Writer's pictureMark Roberts

Say, "CHEESE"!

Photographers who are looking for great images of people framed within their camera lens try to always make their subjects smile. What is the one phrase you hear over and over if someone is taking your picture? That's right. It's the words "Say, cheese." The intent is to get you to smile. That one word does more than most to get your teeth to show and create a happy image. It also shows people that look at your photo that you feel good about yourself.

According to Reader's Digest, the idea of “cheesing” in photos first appeared sometime during the 1940's. The Big Spring Herald, a local Texas newspaper, printed an article that referenced the phrase during World War II in 1943. While no one knows for sure who came up with it or why, it's believed the word itself forces you to smile. The “ch” sound causes you to clench your teeth, and the long “ee” sound parts your lips, making a facial expression that resembles a grin.

When the camera was invented in the 1800's and photography was in its infancy, the exposure time was long, the cost was expensive to get your photo taken, and most people did not have attractive smiles due to very poor dental hygiene. Around 1900 when Kodak rolled out their dollar camera, getting your picture taken was significantly cheaper, but people were used to looking very dignified for their portraits. The pictures weren't that good, but at least they were affordable. Hence, smiling was not looked upon as the best positive image.

Over the past 175 years, photography and related equipment has become much more sophisticated. With the ability now to have your photo taken with a Smart phone, there are billions of photos taken and uploaded every minute of every day around the world. Smiling is typically what most people do when they pose for a picture. Where would social media be without the selfie? And why wouldn't you want your picture shown all over the internet? Maybe privacy? But that's a completely different matter.

As well, the dental industry has become much more sophisticated as well. Gone is the practitioner with a store front in the 1800's who not only pulled teeth, but was also probably the undertaker and possibly the town mayor. If you've seen John Wayne westerns, you know what I mean. No novocaine or pain relief - just a pair of plyers and a shot or two of whiskey. Dental tools were crude, painful and usually had limited success.

Fast forward to modern days. More people go to the dentist than ever before. However, CareQuest Institute for Oral Health reported in a new study. In their annual "State of Oral Health Equity in America" survey, 77 million adults in the US do not have dental insurance - that's almost 30% of the population.

They report that disparities in oral health also exist for many populations, including people of color, low-income or uninsured people, and veterans. There are still way too many individuals and families that don't have a dental plan. There are a variety of reasons why, but this underserved group needs to have great oral health.

CareQuest's survey also noted twenty five percent people without dental insurance reported that their overall health has gotten worse over the past year compared to those with dental insurance. Plus three times, more adults lack dental insurance than health insurance. Here are some reasons why having dental insurance is a good idea:

  • Preventive benefits ensure that problems are found early. Regular dental exams and cleanings are critical to identify issues before they require major, costly procedures. If tooth decay goes unnoticed and untreated, you could be spending a lot of money for a root canal down the road. Most dental plans cover preventive visits at little or no additional cost.

  • You’re protected from financial risk. Even with proper preventive care, sometimes major dental health issues arise. You have insurance against risk for your health, your car, and your home—don’t forget about your oral hygiene.

  • The best care rates are available to plan members. Dentists who belong to a network have a contract to provide you with services at a set fee. That means your out-of-pocket cost is less than if you were to walk in for treatment without any plan coverage.

  • Dental health can affect your overall health. Researchers continue to identify links between oral and overall health. Problems of the mouth can lead to harmful levels of bacteria that worsen medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease if it enters the bloodstream. Dentists can act as frontline healthcare specialists to diagnose potential health related issues.

Contact me to learn more about affordable options for dental care. Visit this site to find out how you and your family can say, "Cheese," and be happy about your smile. If you're an employer, contact me to get a quote about how your employees can save money on their dental care.

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