May is Older Americans Month, a nationwide celebration of Americans aged 65 and older. This year’s theme, “Age Out Loud,” encourages older adults to speak up about trends and issues that affect their lives. For many, the conversation revolves around Medicare and the need for accessible, affordable dental care.
“Medicare does not cover dental care or treatments (with a few, very specific exceptions) and supplemental Medigap plans typically do not cover dental care either,” said Bill Chase, Vice President of Marketing for DentalPlans.com, a leading online healthcare marketplace. “It’s unfortunate as medical research continues to find links between oral health and overall health, and we know that regular dental care is among the best ways to maintain wellness.”
Oral health symptoms are associated with 90 percent of all systemic diseases, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. And, studies have shown poor oral health has been linked to serious conditions, increasing the risk of heart disease by as much as 180 percent and stroke by 300 percent.
For many aging seniors, fitness, and health, like oral health, have become of greater importance throughout the years. Oral health issues that have been associated with aging, such as decay, tooth loss and gum disease can, for the most part, be prevented with consistent dental care and an at-home hygiene routine that addresses the needs of older adults, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
But without the guidance of a dentist or a dental hygienist, people may not know how to effectively combat concerns such as dry mouth. Saliva is the mouth’s major defense against tooth decay, and dry mouth can cause accelerated tooth decay, gum disease, oral sores and pain, and bad breath. The condition is often caused by common medications, such as aspirin. If the medication dosage cannot be adjusted, dry mouth symptoms can be managed with help from a dental professional.
Many seniors who are on a fixed budget or aren’t receiving the dental benefits they need and deserve, are now turning to dental savings plans as an affordable alternative to dental insurance. Dental savings plans, an established alternative to traditional dental insurance, helps to make quality dental care affordable for everyone, with discounts of 10%-60% on dental care from a nationwide network of dentists. Learn more at DentalPlans.com.