Did you know your dental health affects the health of the rest of your body? For example, gum disease can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, lung problems, and even digestive issues. Sadly, many seniors avoid dental care because their healthcare plans don't cover the expense. Fortunately, there are several ways for seniors to access affordable care and take preventive measures at home.
Find a Better Dentist
First of all, if you already have a dentist where you’re a patient, make sure the practice is meeting your needs. Even if the cost isn't an issue, long wait times, an inconvenient office location, or poor-quality care may keep you from going for regular preventive checkups. If you have mobility problems, it can also be difficult to travel to a dentist office located far from home. If that’s the case, consider switching to a closer dentist — use this online tool from AreaDentist to find quality dental care in your neighborhood.
Sign Up for Dental Coverage
Regular dental visits allow dentists to check for problems such as cavities and signs of cancer, plus you can have a thorough cleaning of your teeth. During a cleaning, dental hygienists scrape tartar off the teeth to prevent the development of oral diseases. A cleaning is recommended every six months to help get rid of any buildup. If you have dental coverage through your insurance, make sure you take advantage of this valuable service.
While Medicare is beneficial to many seniors, it includes very limited dental coverage that is reserved for emergencies. Fortunately, many Medicare Advantage plans offer comprehensive dental coverage for procedures, cleanings, checkups, dentures, extractions, fillings, and more. Medicare Advantage plans are an excellent, affordable healthcare coverage option for seniors who need routine dental services covered. Just make sure your preferred dentist is in your care network before choosing a plan.
Talk to Your Dentist About a Discount
According to Vice, you may be able to get a discount on your dental care by being upfront with your dentist about what you can afford. Many dentists will be willing to set up a payment plan or offer lower rates for services, especially if you’ve been seeing them regularly. Some dentists also offer membership plans that provide discounts on routine services and larger procedures. If you can afford to pay for your dental care up front, your dentist may be more willing to offer a discount.
Participate in Medical Studies
Participating in medical studies is another great way to get affordable dental care. Trials are constantly underway for testing new treatments and procedures. If you fit certain criteria, you can become a trial subject and receive dental care for free. You may even get paid for it! Dental schools also offer treatment from students at much cheaper prices. Don't worry, these students are well-trained and operate under the supervision of licensed dentists.
Care for Your Teeth at Home
Caring for your teeth at home is one of the best ways to keep your body healthy and prevent the need for expensive procedures. Brush your teeth for two minutes twice per day and floss daily. Try to avoid sipping on sugary beverages or snacking on sweets for long periods of time. Staying hydrated is also extremely important for encouraging saliva production. According to MouthHealthy, saliva plays a key role in washing bacteria from our teeth and preventing decay.
Seniors, in particular, can be susceptible to dry mouth. Simply sipping on water throughout your day can assist your saliva in cleansing your teeth. Additionally, electrolytes are often recommended to people who are battling dehydration. Solves Strips Electrolyte Strips can help with fluid retention and are an excellent alternative to sugary sports drinks. While you're at it, consider picking up some Vitamin D3 strips to improve calcium absorption for stronger teeth.
Don’t overlook the importance of dental care in your senior years. Even if you have dentures, oral hygiene will affect your overall health, so ensure you’re doing your part to keep your mouth happy. Take advantage of affordable dental care and remember to review your healthcare coverage so you can give your teeth the high-quality care they deserve.
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