Results from the Statistics Canada’s Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) shows that more seniors are keeping their natural (and restored) teeth longer than in the past. However, the instances of root decay and gum disease are almost three times higher in older adults compared to younger ones. The survey also found that having dental insurance coverage is one of the main factors that determine whether Canadians see a professional for dental care, yet many people are left without coverage as they get older (60 to 79 years of age).
[ Source: Report on the findings of the oral health component of the Canadian Health Measures Survey 2007-2009, Health Canada, 2010 ]
The problem is that Canadians go the dentist less regularly in their retirement years, and only seek an oral health professional for emergency care.
Why you need to take care of your teeth during retirement
Oral health consists of much more than healthy teeth and gums — it also impacts your quality of life.
- Appearance and the ability to speak and socialize
Loose or missing teeth, gum disease, loose dentures or partials, and cavities are all factors that can be a barrier to communicating and having a social life.
- Eating and nutrition
Having strong teeth and gums allows you to eat a wide variety of good-tasting and nutritious foods (not just soft foods) and properly chew to absorb nutrients and stay healthy. The ability to properly chew food also ensures sufficient nutrient absorption to help you stay active and healthy.
Neglected oral health may lead to pain and serious infection that can even result in hospitalization.
Recent studies have linked untreated oral problems to other diseases, like type II diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and pulmonary infections. And having regular oral check-ups increases the chances of early detection of oral cancers.
In addition to these issues, many retirees take medications. Over 400 medications identify reduction in saliva as a side effect, which puts an individual at higher risk for dental decay. It can also become harder to floss and brush well, as many suffer from loss of dexterity with age, causing more gum disease.
[ Source: McMaster University Optimal Aging Initiative https://www.mcmasteroptimalaging.org ]
How dental insurance helps as you get older
Studies have shown that while the need for dental care increases with age, financial resources are more limited in your retirement. It is important to plan accordingly to ensure proper dental care as you get older because most oral health issues are preventable.
Dental insurance can help ensure that you continue to have funds for regular dental check-ups to help you manage your oral health for prevention, diagnosis and treat of dental decay, periodontal disease and other oral diseases.
Care provided by dentists and dental specialists (e.g., orthodontists, oral surgeons, periodontists, dental hygienists, and denturists) can qualify for reimbursement under many plans.
We can help you plan for your oral health future
Make dental insurance part of your retirement plan. Maintaining your oral health as you age can help keep you smiling during your golden years. Talk to us today about plans specially designed for people leaving a group plan, or other individual health plan options for retirees.