The Junk Food Tax (Yes, I’m paying it!)

junk food taxI went to my 6-month dentist appointment for my routine cleaning and exam yesterday. I’ve always had fairly good teeth and been pretty good at taking care of them (okay lie-I fail at flossing). I haven’t needed much dental work other than braces, wisdom teeth removal and two cavities. Not so bad. In addition to the exam cleaning, I was also due for xrays which we took at the beginning of the appointment. What a surprise I got.

I have four spots in between my teeth that need a filling. Yes, FOUR! I haven’t felt any pain or sensitivity so this was a rather huge surprise. My dentist was pretty frank with me too. He said that these cavities are basically the result of two things 1) too much sugar 2) not flossing. My cavities were the direct result of my lifestyle. I am completely, 100% responsible for those cavities.

The Cost

On my way out of the office, I scheduled my appointment for the fillings and received an estimate for the out-of-pocket piece I would be responsible for paying (My insurance will only cover about 50% of the cost). Want to know how much those four cavities are going to cost me? $750. Yep, nearly a grand to fix a problem that could have easily been avoided altogether. I knew it was going to be bad- but not that bad. I’m calling these cavities my junk food tax. That’s what you get for eating too much junk food and not taking good enough care of youself.

A Wake Up Call

I’m not going to lie, I totally cried on my way back to work (This appointment was over my lunch break). I was freaking out about how expensive these fillings were going to be and mad at myself for being so dumb. I just hope that I can fix this problem now while I’m young.

I’ve started to evaluate my diet. I definitely have a sweet tooth and am also bad about snacking throughout the day.  In addition, I need to get more exercise in. These are changes that I can make and are completely in my control. So far, I’ve cut down on snacking and sugar. I’m actually doing pretty good. I am still working on finding a realistic exercise plan that I’ll be able to incorporate into my schedule and stick to.

I Don’t Want to Pay more Junk Food Tax!

A $750 visit to the dentist is my junk food tax. That’s very expensive. This was my wake up call to be a healthier person. Being a healthy person is more affordable. While cavities are a fairly minor issue, there are some much more serious side effects to sugar such as weight gain and diabetes. I’m sure these issues are much more serious and expensive to deal with. If I can at all avoid it, I want to spend as little time as possible going to the doctor, buying prescriptions and dealing with various ailments in my lifetime. I want to be a healthy person and enjoy my life as much as possible. Point is, I’m ready to change and become a healthier person. 

Have you paid the junk food tax? Are you working on creating a healthier lifestyle? Any Advice?

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  1. Yikes! Sorry for the bad news!

    It’s been way too long since I’ve been to the dentist. I am afraid I will get the same wake-up call you did 🙁 I am not a regular flosser either and I love sweets. Not a good combo.
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  2. I’m sorry about that amount you have to pay, but I’m glad if it was a wakeup call to live a more healthful lifestyle. Some people go the cheap route with food and save money on groceries, but end up paying more in their later years in health care costs. Believe me you’re making the better choice!
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  3. Valentine’s day certainly isn’t going to make this any easier!
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  4. My wife had to get a filling and cried when she found out. I was very confused but after reading your post I understand a little better after reading your post. I haven’t been to the dentist in just about a year so this is a good reminder to get something scheduled. I definitely have a lot of sugar and would like to cut down on it. I’m probably going to give up pop (soda for those not in the midwest…) for Lent and see if I can do it. I’m pretty addicted to my caffeine : /
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  5. Ugh, that stinks! On the bright side, at least you don’t need any root canals. I’m aiming towards a healthier lifestyle this year, too. It’s been really hard to give up sweets since the holidays ended, but I know I need to cut back :/
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    • Yes, on the bright side, at least I don’t have any root canals.. I haven’t had one before, but I hear they are a whole new level of expensive!

  6. Better that it is your teeth than diabetes like you wrote. Unfortunately too many people have poor health from diets that they think can be cured from a pill.
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  7. Yikes! So the cost (including what insurance pays) is really $1,500 for four cavities? That is unreal!
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    • Yep that dentist isn’t cheap. I think we could probably find a more affordable dentist, but I’ve been seeing this guy for years and he is a great dentist.

  8. Wow that’s the price of four ceramic crowns with a US trained dentist in Guatemala, if it gets worse you may want to consider dental tourism :).
    Sorry to hear, that sucks. I’ve been eating much healthier for the past couple of years and the main benefit was rarely being sick. Before I was sick at least twice during winter which also has a high cost in drugs and days off work, now it almost never happens.
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  9. I’ve seen a lot of patients who were also shock that they have cavities because it doesn’t bother them while some waited as soon as they get employed to finally afford fillings. The more you wait, the more expensive it might be to repair it. If you’re proactive about keeping your teeth in shape, just like keeping your body in good health, it will save you from costly dental procedures and plenty of pain. Brushing, flossing, a healthy diet, and regular dental visits are a path to a healthy mouth. Remember, a healthy lifestyle will show up throughout your entire body!