It might be the truest statement of all time: Nobody likes going to the dentist. And unfortunately, it doesn't get any more fun with age. It does, however, remain just as important to see the dentist regularly in your retirement years as it was when you were a kid. And the reasons go beyond preventing cavities.
Many older adults avoid going to the dentist because they don't have dental insurance. But you do have options for dental coverage once you're eligible for Medicare. While Original Medicare (Parts A and B) won't cover routine dental care, some Medicare Advantage plans will. It all depends on the plan you choose.
Here are a few important reasons why you should pay a visit to your dentist regularly (at least once a year), especially if you're over 65:
1. It becomes harder to detect tooth problems on your own as you age
You may think the right time to see the dentist is when you're experiencing pain. But as you get older, the nerves inside your teeth become smaller and less sensitive. So even though you might not feel them, cavities or gum problems could be wreaking havoc on your teeth and mouth.
Letting a cavity or gum issue go untreated could lead to tooth decay or even the loss of a tooth. That's why it's important to visit your dentist at least once a year so they can spot — and treat — any tooth problems you might not be aware of.
Talk with a licensed Aetna representative
Monday-Friday 8am to 6pm CT
2. Poor oral health can lead to other health problems
Common oral health problems such as gum disease, dry mouth, and sensitive teeth don't just affect your mouth. As you age, these problems can take a toll on your overall health, too. Oral health conditions can lead to difficulties chewing and swallowing, which may cause you to avoid eating certain foods. This can result in poor nutrition, which can cause a weakened immune system, poor wound healing, muscle weakness, and decreased bone mass.
Studies also suggest that gum disease may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. So make sure you're seeing the dentist regularly to protect your oral and overall health.
3. Oral cancer, gum disease, and tooth loss are more common in older adults
About two in three adults aged 65 years or older have gum disease, and cancers of the mouth and tooth decay are primarily diagnosed in older adults, too. But just because you're getting older doesn't mean you have to be part of these statistics. Going to the dentist regularly can help you avoid these problems. Your dentist can detect any issues early on, potentially preventing the onset of these diseases.
Knowing the benefits of going to the dentist won't necessarily make getting your teeth poked and prodded any more enjoyable, but you can feel good knowing you're taking care of your health with each annual visit.
Speak to a licensed Aetna representative about Medicare
Monday-Friday 8am to 6pm CT
1-833-942-1968 (TTY: 711)