In 2016, only 64% of adults attended their annual check-up in 2016.
Over 35% didn’t.
Dental health is an afterthought for many, yet research has linked good dental hygiene to better general health. Potential benefits include the alleviation of type 2 diabetes symptoms and rheumatoid arthritis.
Studies have even discovered a connection between Alzheimer’s and gum disease. Yet it’s believed 108 million citizens are without dental insurance, according to The US Health Resources and Services Administration.
Dental costs have increased. Dental insurance is a way to combat this inflation, but you need to find the right one for you.
Medicare dental plans, among others, are available to help make dentistry more affordable.
The Complexities of Oral Care
There’s a divide between medicine and dentistry.
Dentistry is seen as less important, leading to basic insurance packages. A prime example is the insurance plan provided by the University of California-Berkeley. An academic working at UC-Berkeley was only covered for up to $1,500 in dental work per year.
Cost is another damaging factor. The yearly average for dental premiums is $360, but the maximum annual limit is $2,000. A family dental plan can cost up to $680. The amount you pay is determined by state legislation, your insurance plan, etc.
The result? Questions about rising dental expenses are being asked.
On average, a single filling will cost between $50 and $150. Prices will vary depending on your location, the number of teeth needing work, and how long treatment takes.
Why Is Dentistry Expensive?
There are several reasons that dentistry is expensive:
- It’s a professional service. Years of education and training goes into becoming a dentist; it’s a specialized service. Higher prices reflect the expertize you’re paying for.
- Equipment is expensive. A standard film x-ray will cost your local dentist at least $20,000, specialized practices may pay $15,000 more for newer models.
- Third party use. Not all dentists have their own lab to produce dentures, crowns, etc. They may need third-party help to make certain dental work accessible.
- Malpractice insurance. All healthcare providers need malpractice coverage, but it can cost between $2,000 and $3,000 each year. Initial payments are lower for graduates, at approximately $1,000 annually.
There are ways to get financial help such as getting a medical insurance plan that includes dental coverage.
Different Dental Plans
If you’re hesitant about dental insurance make sure to shop around before buying. You need to know the benefits of each plan available to make the right decision.
Can you rely on government funded services, or do you need private care instead?
Medicare is one of the few federal programs available. It’s suited to citizens over 65, those suffering from permanent kidney failure, and young people with disabilities.
Original Medicare doesn’t include dental health. Check-ups, crowns, dentures, and fillings are excluded. This is why additional plans are beneficial.
Also known as Part C, advantage plans include the healthcare of Part A and B (Original Medicare) and dental work. These preventative services cover basic cleanings to major root canals.
Over half of senior citizens use supplement plans.
Private health insurers offer a wide range of plans designed to work in combination with your standard hospital and medical care. Using a Medicare Supplement Plans comparison chart will help to compare costs and premiums.
Why Is It Necessary?
Health risks increase as we age. To protect against serious health problems, a proactive approach is needed. Dentists advise over 65s to have a dental check every six months.
Poor dental health is a common problem in elderly patients. Over 65s have 18.60 of their original teeth, compared to adults who have an average of 26.90 original teeth remaining.
Age alone can be damaging, but other factors can worsen the effects. Medication, cancer treatments, and genetics all play a part in oral health.
Tooth loss isn’t the only issue faced. Oral cancer rates increase with age, peaking between 60 and 70.
Signs of oral cancer can be difficult to spot. Bleeding sores, difficulty chewing, tenderness, and color change are all potential signs. Checking for changes at home is important, but dentists use technology better equipped for early detection.
Dental Care to Try at Home
Good oral hygiene needs to be practiced at home.
- Drop bad habits. Chronic nail biting can splinter your tooth enamel and cause your teeth to move. Teeth grinding, chewing pen tops, and smoking are other habits responsible for damage.
- Be gentle when brushing. Hard brushing can cause damage to the enamel of your teeth and can worsen sensitivity. A soft bristled toothbrush is best to use.
- Refine your diet. Promote good nutrition from a young age. Sugar intake is the number one aspect of your diet you need to watch. Carbonated drinks are the worst offender – they corrode teeth enamel.
- Floss wisely. Flossing removes bits of food you missed when brushing, but don’t overdo it. Once a day is enough. Flossing more can irritate your mouth, causing your gums to bleed.
- Use mouthwash. Make sure to follow the instructions and rinse for the stated time. Use mouthwash daily for best results. When used properly, it can significantly reduce the chance of gum disease.
The more proactive you are about your oral hygiene, the better your dental and overall health will be.
Are Medicare Dental Plans Right for Me?
Oral health has always been a vital part of self-care. Taking care of your teeth stops bad breath, removes plaque, and lowers the risk of tooth decay.
But our dental care is about more than fresh breath.
Without good oral hygiene, our general health suffers. We become more prone to tooth loss, infections, heart disease, and dementia. Poor dental care is damaging at any age, but those older are more at risk.
We want to help you improve all aspects of your health. Our blog provides solutions, tips, and home remedies for a number of health concerns. Visit our health section to learn more.