Let’s be honest, the usual trip to the dentist is no walk in the park. But regular dental visits are a necessary part of good oral health.
Surprisingly, it’s not the unpleasant sounds of the dental drill or the memories of the last porcelain filling that’s keeping our seniors of out of the dentist’s chair. According to researchers, a survey revealed that of the 56 million Americans aged 65 and older who received Medicare in 2016, less than half visited the dentist the previous year.
Out of every nine older adults with Medicare, there is one covered by dental insurance. And 80 percent of seniors with coverage are receiving dental exams.
It’s important that your loved one receive preventive dental care. Dentists say routine check-ups are necessary to avoid tooth loss or tooth decay. The bacteria from tooth decay can cause pneumonia in seniors, ultimately leading to hospitalization and death, in some cases.
Amber Willink, public health researcher at Baltimore’s John Hopkins University, says that declining oral health can cause other problems as well. “Our oral health directly impacts on our ability to speak, eat and swallow. Not being able to eat can lead to nutritional deficiencies, not being able to swallow can impact one’s ability adhere to their medication regime required to treated other illnesses.”
Understanding the importance of oral health maintenance is crucial to your senior’s overall health. If your loved one doesn’t have dental insurance, here are a few resources that Freedom Home Care found that may help them get the care they need.
This is often the least expensive option for dental care if you’re paying out-of-pocket. While your loved one might spend a little more time in the chair, it’s usually because dental students are being supervised by instructors who do a thorough check to be sure patients are receiving quality dental care.
Inexpensive Dental Clinics
Low cost clinics are usually federally funded and may charge based on income.
Find out if your senior qualifies for a discount. Some dentists also offer payment plans if there’s no insurance. Just be sure to ask before receiving services.