Senior couple cooking dinner together.

Over 65? Here's Why You Need Dental Coverage

October 14, 2020

Originally published August 2020. Updated October 14, 2020

In one of our recent posts, we explained the ins-and-outs of the Medicare system, what is and isn’t covered, and what you can do to ensure you’re getting yourself the coverage you deserve.

But one thing we didn’t cover, is why exactly it’s important that Americans 65 and over need to take care of their oral health.

Over 65 and need coverage? Take a look at our plans to find the one that's right for you.

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See, oral health is important.

In fact, a recent study conducted by Delta Dental of Washington’s Arcora Foundation in conjunction with HealthCare Research, found that approximately 97% of seniors in Washington consider their oral health to be just as important as their overall health1.

That’s because a lot of diseases, like heart disease and diabetes, often present first in the mouth. And since age-related conditions such as arthritis can make brushing and flossing difficult, it’s important for seniors to visit the dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.

This means that plans focusing on preventive care – like many of the individual dental plans we provide* – are invaluable to maintaining a healthy overall lifestyle for those 65+. By emphasizing regular dental care, seniors can address such issues as:

  • Heart Disease: According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people with periodontal disease are 2x as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease. And the presence of common oral health conditions – such as gingivitis or cavities – are nearly as good as predicting the onset of heart disease as cholesterol levels.
  • Diabetes: Severe gum disease, or periodontitis, hinders the body’s ability to use insulin and high blood sugar resulting from diabetes can lead to infections in the gums.
  • Pneumonia: Poor oral health has been linked to pneumonia in seniors. By breathing in bacteria from the mouth to the lungs, seniors are more susceptible to pneumonia than other populations, making good oral hygiene key to prevention.
  • Root Decay: Caused by tooth root exposure to acidic foods, root decay is very common in people 65+.
  • Dry Mouth: This is a common side effect of medication as well as cancer treatments that specifically target radiation to the head and neck area. Saliva keeps the mouth wet, which helps prevent the buildup of bacteria or tooth decay.
  • Denture-Induced Stomatitis: Caused by a combination of ill-fitting denture and poor oral hygiene or the buildup of the fungus Candida albicans, this condition causes inflammation below the dentures that can be very painful if left untreated.

So yeah, good oral health is intrinsic to an overall healthy lifestyle. Which means, if you’re one of the 44 million Medicare-eligible Americans, it’s necessary to find a dental plan that takes care of you and your smile every step of the way.

Over 65 and need coverage? Take a look at our plans to find the one that's right for you.

Get Your Quote

*Delta Dental of Washington is independent of the Medicare program and is neither associated with nor endorsed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

1Weiss, K. (2017, March). Senior Oral Health Survey. Retrieved August 03, 2020, from