By Libby Taylor
Dental insurance for seniors is crucial for maintaining affordable dental care. For years, scientists have proven that poor overall health can lead specifically to the loss of teeth, but now data suggests that this loss could indicate increased occurrence of dementia in elderly patients. For this reason, it's more important than ever to take care of oral health.
As Americans age, our overall and oral health steadily declines. As you grow older, your pearly whites are not going to be as strong or resilient as they were during your younger years. Thus as seniors’ health continues to decrease, their likelihood of losing teeth and acquiring gum disease increases dramatically.
The University of Kentucky College of Medicine and College of Dentistry performed a study of 144 elderly individuals, monitoring their overall health status in light of their dental records to test for a connection between dementia and lost teeth. Of the seniors who participated in the study, those with ten teeth or fewer remaining had a much higher rate of developing Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, than those seniors who had more than ten teeth still remaining. Studies have more recently found that individuals suffering from Alzheimer's have higher levels of gum disease-related bacteria in their brains.
Insurance companies know that the elderly have additional needs and often require more visits to the dentist office. Thus, many insurance companies are either reluctant to insure the elderly, or only offer exorbitant rates for seniors.
This study has clearly shown that there may be a link between dementia and teeth lost by the elderly, and for this reason, it is a necessity for all seniors to have adequate dentistry coverage. Regular visits to the dentist office, as well as regular tooth maintenance, is even more important as seniors advance in age. Still, insurance companies continue to shy away from covering seniors because of the increased amount of dentistry work they often need.
If you are currently looking for dental insurance for seniors, it may take some leg work and quite a few phone calls. However, if you are suffering from loss of teeth, finding adequate coverage will be well worth your time and effort, so you may want to consider a discount dental plan as a more affordable alternative to dental insurance.