Dental Health Is Important for Overall Health

When you have healthy teeth, you look and feel better. Think about it — your teeth affect how you eat, drink, talk, and smile.

Dental health is a vital part of your overall health.

Think about it... your teeth affect how you eat, drink, talk, and smile.

If you went to a pediatric dentist as a child, you will need to find a different dentist when your permanent teeth come in or when you become an adult. (If you need certain procedures, such as tooth removal, you may need to consult an oral surgeon.)

Your pediatric dentist can make referrals. You may also want to ask the care team at your pediatric cancer center. The team may know of providers in your area who have experience treating childhood cancer patients and survivors.

When you make that first appointment, you are encouraged to tell your dentist that you are a cancer patient or survivor. Share a copy of your Survivorship Care Plan. Be prepared to explain your treatment to your dentist. Because childhood cancer is so rare, it is possible your dentist may not have treated a childhood cancer survivor before. Some dentists may want a letter or medical release from your oncologist saying it is OK for you to have dental procedures.

Tell your dentist that you are a cancer patient or survivor.

Some cancer treatments can have an impact on your dental health. Usually this involves high doses of radiation to your jaw or surrounding tissue or chemotherapy at a young age that may affect tooth development. There can also be dental late effects, which may appear months or years after treatment.

In addition to finding good dental providers, you want to also take good care of your teeth and gums between visits.

Here are recommendations from the American Dental Association:

  • Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day.
  • Eat a healthy diet that limits sugary drinks and snacks.
  • See your dentist regularly. Most people usually need to go to the dentist twice a year for cleaning and checkups.
Here are recommendations from the American Dental Association: brush your teeth with flouride toothpaste at least twice a day; floss your teeth at least once a day; eat a healthy diet that limits sugary drinks and snacks; see your dentist regularly. Most people usually need to go the dentist twice a year for cleaning and checkups.

How to Make an Appointment

Here are 5 things you should do when you make a phone call to make an appointment, according to healthcare.gov:

  • Let the office know if you’re a new patient. You may have to wait a few weeks or even months to get an appointment especially if you’re a new patient.
  • Tell the person the reason for your visit. Is it a checkup or do you have a specific problem?
  • Give them the name of your health insurance plan. For information on how to find low-cost dental care, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the American Dental Association.
  • Find out if you need to bring anything to the visit.
  • It’s important to know the name of the provider you’d like to see. You may have to wait longer for an appointment if you request a specific provider, so they might recommend another provider in your network who has availability if you’re feeling sick and need to come in sooner.
How to make an appointment: let the office know if you're a new patient; tell the person the reason for your visit; give them the name of your health insurance plan; find out if you need to bring anything to the visit; know the name of the provider you'd like to see.


Reviewed: August 2020