Calcasieu Parish residents will now have access to a special dental discount program to help keep your pearly whites healthy.

According to a press release from the parish's Police Jury, the plan will help families save money on "routine dentist office visits, orthodontic treatment and other dental care services through a network of participating private practice dentists."

The plan will be provided through the National Association of Counties (NACo) and a group called Careington International Corporation.

According to the NACo website, plans start at as low as $6.95 a month or $59 a year for individuals.

According to a Wall Street Journal article published Dec. 27, 2011, “Some of the earliest signs of diabetes, cancer, pregnancy, immune disorders, hormone imbalances and drug issues show up in the gums, teeth and tongue – sometimes long before a patient knows anything is wrong.” The article cites growing evidence that “oral health problems, particularly gum disease, can harm a patient’s general health, raising the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, pneumonia and pregnancy complications.”

NACo President Chris Rodgers, Commissioner, Douglas County, Neb., said, “Especially during these tough times, NACo is pleased to provide this dental discount program to our member counties.  This program is not insurance.  This program is the latest of many valuable services that NACo provides to our member counties.”

More information about the NACo Dental Discount Card Program is available at  Call 877-354-NACo (6226) and mention marketing code “NACo” to take advantage of special rates.