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As you age, you are bound to start noticing minor health problems, more frequent inflammation and pain, or increased discomfort. And your oral health isn’t immune to these changes! That is why it is important to focus on your dental well-being before and after retirement.
Although ailments are a natural part of aging, taking the right steps can help you protect your mental and physical health from common risks. In this guide, we’ll look into how to safeguard your dental health after retirement. Let’s get started.
Invest in an Insurance Plan That Covers Dental Services
According to surveys conducted by Gallup in 2022, a staggering 26% of Americans report having skipped treatment because of the costs involved, and 1 in 6 employees remain within their employer only to access health benefits.
Although employer-sponsored insurance might have helped you access affordable healthcare services during your professional life, it is important to consider that you will lose your dental benefits after retirement.
What’s more, Medicare does not cover dental care, unless some dentistry procedures are considered by your healthcare provider “medically necessary” or are provided as emergency care. That is why, when planning for dental care after retirement, you should consider expanding your Medicare plan with add-ons or investing in a custom private health insurance policy.
Establish a Robust Oral Health Routine
Maintaining a proper oral health routine after retirement is crucial to prevent chronic and severe conditions, including gum disease and oral cancer.
Statistics by the CDC show that, in the US, 96% of adults aged 65 and over have untreated tooth decay, 68% have gum disease, and 1 in 5 have suffered from tooth loss. What’s more, oral or mouth cancer and other chronic diseases such as periodontal disease are primarily diagnosed in older adults.
The good news is that most of these conditions can be reduced in frequency or severity (or even prevented altogether!) by establishing a robust oral care routine. This should involve flossing, brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a date, and caring for your dentures. If you have a caregiver, be sure to inform them of your dental needs.
Improve Your Lifestyle and Habits
Your oral health is interconnected with your mental and physical well-being. For example, improving your lifestyle and daily habits can strengthen your immune system and make you less prone to infections and inflammation.
Some practical tips to manage your health as you age include:
Choose a Dentist Who Specializes in Geriatric Dentistry
Although the strategies below can help you delay the onset of oral and general ailments, some dental issues related to aging are often inevitable. That is why, before retirement, you should look for a dentist who specializes in geriatric dentistry and can provide you with accessible specialized services such as affordable dentures.
Some boxes the right dentist will tick include:
Once you have found the right dentist for your needs, keep up with frequent visits and checkups. Don’t forget that regular assessments and cleanings can reduce the risk of developing gum disease, tooth decay, and other severe conditions.
Don’t Leave Dental Problems Unaddressed
As you age, you might be more prone to frequent or recurring oral health problems, which, if unaddressed, can lead to dental emergencies. What’s more, some dental problems, such as dry mouth or gum disease, are considered to be risk factors for heart disease and other life-threatening conditions.
In turn, not treating minor dental issues as they arise can cause you to deal with more costly healthcare services and life-threatening problems in the long term. Work with your dentist to devise a prevention plan!