If you want to keep your smile in good working order, it’s important to have dental insurance, even if you no longer have employer-sponsored coverage.
Oral health is an essential part of overall health, and seniors face unique challenges when it comes to teeth.
Fortunately for AAA Northeast members living in Rhode Island, Delta Dental makes it easier than ever to find an affordable coverage plan that offers a range of benefits and is widely accepted by dentists throughout the state.
Dental Insurance Pays Off
Regular dental visits help mitigate and prevent the oral issues older adults are more susceptible to.
Seniors are more prone to plaque and tooth decay, and are especially vulnerable to dry mouth and subsequent bacteria buildup, often caused by taking medications. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 68% of people ages 65 and older are affected by gum disease, a condition that can lead to serious health complications if left untreated.
Clinical research shows gum health and mouth bacteria are associated with conditions including:
- Heart disease and stroke.
- Pulmonary disease.
- Bacterial pneumonia.
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
The risk of oral cancer also increases for people ages 60 to 70, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
Dental insurance offsets the cost of preventative care like checkups, cleanings and major procedures, so you don’t have to hesitate to see a dentist and continue routine appointments to stay ahead of your oral health.
How to Prepare Your Smile for Retirement
There’s plenty you can do to keep your teeth strong and healthy well into your golden years. Delta Dental of Rhode Island recommends the following tips:
- Maintain good oral health habits. In addition to brushing two times a day and flossing daily, eat a well-balanced diet, avoid tobacco products and limit alcohol consumption. If you wear dentures, remove and clean them daily.
- Do monthly self-exams for oral cancer. Look for unusual sores or swelling, white or reddish patches and changes in your lips, tongue and throat that last more than two weeks. Early detection can save lives.
- Continue to see a dentist regularly, even if you have lost your teeth or wear dentures. Discuss replacement options such as dentures, implants and bridges to help restore your smile.
- Consider the perks of a Health Savings Account. When you are planning to retire, take advantage of your employer’s HSA. Your contributions to the account are tax-deductible and can earn interest or investment gains over time. The money is yours to keep and can be used to fund out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses in retirement.
- Always have dental coverage. Whether it’s through a Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicaid or individual coverage, it’s a good idea to research your options and enroll in a dental insurance plan that can cover the increased dental expenses that come with age.
Delta Dental offers a variety of individual plans for retirees to choose from, covering common procedures like dentures, cleaning, scaling, root planing, tissue grafts, veneers and more. With the largest network of dentists nationwide, it’s easy to find a dentist office near you.
AAA Northeast members in Rhode Island can get quality care and coverage at exclusive rates. Start searching.
How often do you go to the dentist? Let us know in the comments below.