Deducting Medical And Dental Expenses

medical and dental expensesTax season is not usually the favorite time of any person’s year. If you itemize deductions, it may even be a bit more overwhelming for you than for others. But it can benefit you. If you spent a lot in medical and dental expenses (more specifically, if your medical and dental expenses exceeded 10% of your adjusted gross income for the year) you can deduct them. Here are some tips for you to claim a federal income tax deduction for medical and dental expenses.

As mentioned above, the total of your qualified medical and dental expenses must exceed 10% of your AGI to claim a deduction. The exception is if you are married and at least one spouse is 65 or older, the expenses can exceed 7.5%.

Also, you must itemize your deductions; you cannot use the standard deduction. And you must have paid the medical expenses during the same year of tax return you are filing. If you were reimbursed by another source for any of the expenses, you may not deduct those amounts. But you may be able to claim the cost of travel for medical care. To find a list of qualified expenses, visit the IRS website.

Lastly, if you participate in a health savings account or flexible spending account that you used to pay for medical expenses, you cannot claim these as a tax deduction as these funds are already withdrawn on a tax free basis.

Pediatric Dental Disease

pediatric dental diseasePediatric dental disease is the #1 chronic childhood illness. If left untreated, pediatric tooth decay can lead to devastating consequences that extend beyond dental health. Tooth decay can negatively impact a child’s overall health, inhibit their social development and even compromise growth.

Pain and infection from tooth decay can lead to eating, speaking and learning issues. Pediatric dental disease has been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia and more problems. But tooth decay is preventable. Unfortunately, dental care is an unmet health need of children in the US. This is for many reasons, such as lack of dental insurance.

To find out more about pediatric dental disease and ways that you can make sure your child sees a dentist, read the article here: Facts About Tooth Decay.

Red Flags For Children’s Oral Health

children's oral healthThere are certain conditions that can occur throughout your child’s growth that may be red flags for children’s oral health. If you notice any of these warning signs, you should talk with your dentist so you can get it taken care of.

Baby Bottle Syndrome – This happens when a baby is constantly taking in milk, formula, breast milk, or fruit juice. For instance, if your baby is sleeping with a bottle of liquid during the night.  This allows sugar to remain on the teeth and can encourage bacteria growth and cause tooth decay.

Decayed or Missing Baby Teeth – One of the purposes of baby teeth is to serve as a pattern for placement of permanent teeth. If there are decayed or missing baby teeth, this can result in crooked permanent teeth. If children have crooked permanent teeth they can have trouble chewing as well as trouble maintaining good oral hygiene.

Thumb Sucking – Thumb sucking is a normal activity that provides comfort for an infant. But thumb sucking after permanent teeth have erupted (around five years of age) can create many problems. It can cause shifting in the teeth and may affect speech, and dental hygiene.

Tongue Thrusting – This is a condition where the child presses the tongue against the lips with force that can lead to protrusion of teeth.

Poor Nutrition – Be sure to choose fruits and vegetables for snacks.  Limit sugary, sticky foods that can cause tooth decay. Clean teeth after meals and give your child water as often as possible.

Red Flags For Poor Oral Health In Your Child|Consumer Guide To Dentistry

First Visit To The Dentist

first visit to the dentistWhen it is time for your child’s first visit to the dentist, you may find that they are feeling a bit overwhelmed and intimidated. Any new experience is often scary for a young child. But with the right combination of preparation and communication, you can be sure that your child’s first visit to the dentist will be comfortable and enjoyable. The following are some ways that you can help your child prepare for their first appointment.

Practice – Kids love to use their imagination.  You can role play at home and have a pretend dentist.  Practice counting teeth, brushing, flossing and fluoride. Even let your child be the dentist.

Communicate – Communicate with your dentist about how your child is feeling before the day of the appointment.  This gives them a heads up so they know if your child is particularly shy or anxious.  They can plan ahead and provide extra reassurance.

Fun – Add a little fun to your child’s first appointment by letting them bring their favorite toy or stuffed animal with them.  Find teeth related story books, tv shows or videos that feature some of their favorite characters.

Importance of healthy teeth – Make sure your child knows how important it is to have healthy teeth.  Having a healthy mouth helps your whole body stay healthy.  Explain to them that the dentist is a helper for their teeth and an important part of keeping their teeth strong and healthy into adulthood.

How To Prevent Your Child From Fearing The Dentist Office|Pediatric Dentist of Glen Falls