Oral health is one of the most crucial aspects of your overall well-being. According to Colgate, poor oral health is linked to or contributes to many other diseases including diabetes and heart disease, especially in older adults. Unfortunately, Original Medicare does not cover dental services, which leaves many seniors on the sidelines and out of the dentist’s chair. If you have questions about how to find a dentist that specializes in geriatric care, how to pay for your dental procedures, and why your mouth is so important, you’ve come to the right place.
Dental work is expensive. According to Cost Helper, something as simple as removing a wisdom tooth can cost up to $200. Dentures and implants can go into the thousands. If you have Medicare, you may not realize that basic coverage does not include dental benefits. However, most Medicare Advantage plans do, and often for about the same price as you already pay for your Part B coverage. You have the right to change your Medicare plan during the yearly open enrollment period, but it’s never too early to research the best plans for your lifestyle. Until then, you can ask your dentist if they offer a cash pay discount. Similarly, many dental offices run new customer specials that can help you get the care you need for less.
Choosing the right dentist
There are thousands of dentists in the US and probably dozens in your hometown. Pinpointing the right one for you can be a challenge. It is essential to find a dentist that offers the services you need, and that is in a location and building that’s convenient. If you have issues walking, for example, you will need to find an office that does not have stairs. Further, when interviewing potential dentists, pay attention to their staff and any specialized training they’ve received.
The health connection you haven’t considered
You know that a cavity can make it hurt when chewing and that missing or discolored teeth can have a negative impact on your self-confidence. But what you may not have considered is that issues with your oral health can impact you in many other ways. Absolute Dental explains that not taking care of your teeth could lead to diabetes. Even more alarming, oral infections, which are common in individuals who do not prioritize their teeth, can lead to heart disease, decay, and even pneumonia.
Oral health issues that are common among older adults include dry mouth, periodontitis, cavities, and tooth loss. In addition to visiting your dentist for an annual checkup and X-rays, there are things you can do to manage your oral health at home. This includes:
● Brush your teeth for two minutes or more twice each day. This will help to remove plaque and other germs and bacteria.
● Floss each night.
● Avoid sticky foods and sugary drinks. When you do consume these items, rinse your mouth with water afterward.
● If you wear dentures, clean them daily. Ask your dentist which type of toothbrush and denture care products are best for you. Do not use regular toothpaste to clean dentures.
● Remove food and debris from the soft tissue in your mouth before putting in your dentures.
● Brush your tongue and rinse with mouthwash every time you brush your teeth.
Your mouth matters more than you think. No matter how old you are, your oral health should be one of your top priorities. As you get older, it becomes even more important to maintain a relationship with your dentist. If money is a concern, make sure to find a Medicare plan that provides dental benefits and to implement an oral hygiene routine, which can prevent or delay major mouth issues.