Your whole body transforms in dramatic ways as you get older, but did you know that teeth also undergo a lot of changes? Knowing what to expect when it comes to your pearly whites, and having an understanding of aging teeth problems, will help you stay in control so you can keep your gums strong and your smile bright. read more
Spirit Dental Resources
Dental Plans for Seniors
While seniors often make it a point to get the medical coverage that they need, they sometimes neglect getting the right dental insurance. This could be a problem, as dental care can become more expensive as you get older and your teeth and gums become increasingly susceptible to a range of conditions. Thankfully, there are a lot of options for seniors who are in search of the ideal dental plan to help cover expenses when they see their dentist. Do You Really Need Dental Insurance in Your Golden Years? Yes! Even if you had fabulous teeth and gums in your younger years, there is no guarantee that you won’t develop dental health problems in your golden years. After all, as your body ages, things change. Sad but true. What are some of the common ailments that seniors face when it comes to their oral health? Well, they could include everything from cavities and root decay, to dry mouth and gum disease. But more serious concerns might include tissue inflammation that results from the use of dentures, as well as jawbone problems and an uneven bite. On top of that, seniors could have a greater risk of developing fungal infections, such as thrush, their risk of oral cancer might be higher, and the risk of losing teeth might increase. But what’s especially scary is that, when there are problems in the mouth, they could even lead to other health issues in other parts of the body, too. Yikes! For these reasons, seeing your dentist on a regular basis is really important. Your dentist has the skills to thoroughly examine your mouth and look for signs of decay and disease. And if problems arise, your dentist can provide you with the prompt treatment necessary to restore the health of your mouth, so you’ll be able to continue showing off your smile and chewing your favorite foods without pain or difficulty. Here’s the thing, though: even if you know that seeing your dentist is important, you might not be able to afford checkups, cleanings, and treatments if you’re on a fixed budget after you retire. And that’s where dental insurance could come in really handy! Beware: Medicare Alone Might Not Cut It If you’re thinking, “No big deal, I have Medicare,” think again. Medicare doesn’t actually give you routine dental care coverage. Instead, it will only step in and help when your medical needs and your dental care needs are connected, such as when you need to stay in the hospital. But there’s hope! While Medicare Part A and Part B won’t provide coverage for dental cleanings, exams, and treatments like dentures, bridges, crowns, extractions, plates, and fillings, you could sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan. This type of plan will give you routine dental care benefits, and there are a few of these types of plans that you can choose from, so you could find the one that fits your budget and needs best. This is a good option for some seniors. Many seniors choose to invest in a stand-alone dental insurance option, such as the plans that are offered by Spirit Dental. In this case, you’re purchasing insurance specifically for your dental care needs, so you’ll need to pay a monthly premium in order to enjoy the perks of lower out-of-pocket costs when you visit the dentist. At Spirit, you can choose from affordable plans with or without networks, you can receive coverage for major services like implants, and you can also receive three cleanings per year, all without a waiting period when you sign up. For these reasons, a stand-alone plan might provide you with more of what you need when compared to a Medicare Advantage plan. What About Medicaid or the ACA Marketplace? If you receive Medicaid, which is available to low-income seniors, you still may not be eligible for dental benefits. That’s because those benefits are optional, so states could choose whether or not to include them. And, in the states where dental benefits for seniors are included in Medicaid, the benefits might be different from one year to the next and from one state to the next. What a headache! You might be able to find a medical insurance package that includes dental benefits when you visit the ACA Marketplace at healthcare.gov, but those will likely be few and far between. Beyond that, you might also find stand-alone dental insurance plans on the ACA Marketplace. But, before you get excited, bear in mind that you might only be able to sign up for those plans if you’ve already purchased a medical policy from the Marketplace. Plus, the federal subsidies that you might qualify for when signing up for medical insurance won’t be available for stand-alone dental insurance. So your only hope is if you can access a state-run marketplace that lets you buy a dental plan on its own, without having to get a health insurance plan as well. Frustrating, we know. Achieve Peace of Mind with Stand-Alone Dental Insurance for Seniors! Although the process of getting dental insurance might seem tedious, it isn’t so bad when you’re able to work with a provider like Spirit Dental. A reputable dental insurance provider will give you plenty of affordable choices, so you can find the plan that will fit your budget and give you the assurance that you’ll be able to keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape as you get older. Sources: https://www.dentalplans.com/affordable-care-act/senior-dentalcare https://www.humana.com/individual-and-family/products-and-services/dental-insurance/5-ways-seniors-medicare-dental-coverage https://medicare.com/coverage/medicare-dental-coverage-for-seniors/ https://www.healthmarkets.com/resources/medicare/dental-coverage-for-seniors-over-65/
Senior Dental Care: What You Should Know
Like other aspects of our health, our teeth and gums become increasingly vulnerable to a range of conditions as we get older. But all hope is certainly not lost. Simply being aware of the risks, and taking the appropriate steps to minimize those risks, could help you maintain that gorgeous smile long into your golden years. Yikes! These Conditions Could Become More Common with Age Certain oral health issues can affect youngsters, seniors, and everyone in between. But there are a few problems that tend to become more common as you age: Cavities - It turns out that cavities might occur more frequently as you get older. And did you know that if your teeth weren’t exposed to enough fluoride when you were young, you might notice more problems in your senior years? Who knew?! On top of that, if you had to get fillings in the past, they might be old and prone to decay as well. Gum Disease - If you have sensitive, bleeding, or irritated gums, you might be dealing with gum disease, which is also known as periodontal disease. It’s important to talk to your dentist about treatments, as this condition has the potential to make other problems, such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease, worse if it’s left untreated. Receding Gums - Seniors also tend to have receding gums that could leave tooth roots exposed, increasing the risk of decay. Basically, the gum tissue pulls back from a tooth, exposing more of that tooth and causing symptoms like sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages. Your dentist might be able to help by covering the roots with a soft tissue graft, or you might just need your dentist to bond or seal any exposed roots. Darker Teeth - Even if you’ve worked hard to keep your teeth as white as possible through the years, you might notice that your teeth start to look darker as you get older. This could be normal, as it may be the result of your enamel wearing away, exposing the yellow dentin beneath, or it could be from consuming foods and drinks that stain teeth. Loose Teeth - Feeling as though your teeth are looser than normal is definitely scary, but this could happen for a few different reasons as you get older. For example, conditions like diabetes could be to blame, or there might be a problem with your bite. You may even have a bad habit of clenching your teeth. No matter what, talk to your dentist, who might refer you to a periodontist to help you resolve this problem. Thrush - Caused by an overgrowth of a yeast known as Candida albicans, thrush could be the result of a weaker immune system in seniors. But certain medications might also be to blame. If you have symptoms of thrush, which include white blotches in your mouth, it’s best to get it treated by your dentist right away before it gets worse. Dry Mouth - When your mouth fails to produce enough saliva, uncomfortable dry mouth could occur, and that might leave you more vulnerable to infections, tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease. Dry mouth could be part of the side effects of certain prescriptions, but there are also diseases that could cause it, so talk to your dentist if you are exhibiting symptoms. Denture Problems - If you’re like so many other seniors who wear dentures, ensuring that they’re properly fitted could make a world of difference. If your dentures don’t fit right, and if you aren’t thoroughly cleaning them, your risk of tissue inflammation and discomfort might increase. And a condition known as denture-related stomatitis may also occur. So consider having your dentures adjusted or replaced if they aren’t fitting comfortably. Here’s What Seniors Can Do to Maintain a Healthy Mouth Taking your oral hygiene routine up a notch might be just what you need to prevent oral health problems like those discussed above. So consider switching to a fluoride-containing toothpaste if you aren’t already using one. You could even add an antibacterial mouthwash to the mix for extra protection. And don’t forget to floss! Leading a healthy lifestyle could also play a role in your oral health, as it might help reduce the risk of developing conditions that may then lead to tooth and gum ailments. So if you smoke, it’s best to quit. And if you aren’t following a nutritious diet and making it a point to stay hydrated throughout the day, there’s no better time to start than right now. It’s More Important Than Ever to See Your Dentist! Regardless of how old you are, seeing your dentist once or twice a year for a thorough checkup of your entire mouth is a great idea. And getting your teeth cleaned regularly could also help keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy. With a Spirit Dental plan, you can get three cleanings per year, as well as gain access to valuable coverage for major services like bridges, dentures, and implants. Because the risk of dental problems could increase with age, the simple act of signing up for the right insurance could give you peace of mind and the care that you need, without having to worry about affording treatments if you’re on a budget. Hey, we know that aging isn’t always all that fun, but when it comes to senior dental care, there are a few things that you should know, so it’s best to be informed rather than ignore the facts. With the help of your dentist and your dental hygienist, and with a solid at-home oral hygiene routine, you can rest assured that your mouth will remain clean, your gums will stay strong, and your teeth will be as bright as ever. Sources: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/senior-dental-care-faq#1 https://caringpeopleinc.com/blog/senior-dental-care/ https://eastcoastendova.com/5-senior-dental-care-issues-everyone-know/
Oral Care For Those With Dentures
After caring for your natural teeth for so many years, you might be confused about how to approach denture care. Don’t worry, you aren’t alone, and caring for dentures isn’t all that difficult either. Whether you have partial dentures or full dentures, your oral care routine needs to change in order to ensure the health of your entire mouth. So check out the tips below if you’re interested in learning more about oral care for those with dentures. Partial Dentures: You Still Have Some of Your Natural Teeth Do you have partial dentures? Then you need to care for both your natural teeth and your dentures. You can continue brushing and flossing your natural teeth as you have always done. Before you do that, however, remove your partial dentures to thoroughly clean them separately. Removing your partial dentures once a day, prior to heading off to bed, is necessary to keep your gums healthy. Think: let those gums breathe! Full Dentures: No More Natural Teeth Like partial dentures, your full dentures should be removed every night before you go to bed. But because you don’t have any natural teeth to take care of, you can skip the usual brushing and flossing routine. After removing your dentures, you can clean them to get rid of debris and bacteria. Soak them overnight and they’ll be ready for use the next day. Simple! A Step-by-Step Guide to Denture Cleaning Caring for your dentures isn’t complicated. Here’s a basic breakdown of the steps involved in keeping those dentures clean and as natural looking as possible: Remove your dentures and rinse them in some cool water. Why should you bother taking them out of your mouth, and why can’t you just keep them in your mouth all the time? Well, in addition to being able to clean them more effectively, taking your dentures out is a necessary step in preventing irritated, sore, and red gums. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush designed for dentures, gently and carefully clean them to remove food particles and plaque (yes, plaque can form on dentures too!). Brushing your dentures will even help keep stains away so you can have a white smile. Place your dentures into a cleaning solution that’s suitable for the type of dentures that you wear, as some solutions could actually cause metal to tarnish. These solutions are specifically designed to cleanse your dentures overnight and keep them moist while you sleep so that they’ll be ready to go in the morning. Gently brush your gums, palate, and tongue if you have full dentures. If you have partial dentures, brush your gums, palate, tongue, and natural teeth as well. This brushing routine can be done both in the morning and before bed, as it will help to stimulate circulation to the tissues and also keep your mouth clean and fresh. Rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash or some salt water. Doing so could help kill bacteria while freshening your breath. In the morning, after brushing your gums, palate, tongue, and natural teeth, rinse your dentures prior to inserting them again for the day. Pretty easy, right? But here are a couple of important things to keep in mind: it isn’t a good idea to use a household cleaner or even a standard toothpaste to clean your dentures, as these products will be too abrasive and damaging to the surface of your dentures. Also, you should stick with cool water rather than hot water, which could end up warping the shape of your dentures. Experts also recommend cleaning your dentures over a sink filled with water. As an alternative, you could fold a towel and place it in the sink. In this way, if you accidentally drop your dentures, they’ll have a soft landing. Your Dentist Can Help You Care for Your Dentures! Keeping your dentures clean at home is part of the equation. The other half of your denture care involves seeing your dentist regularly. After all, if you have any questions regarding how to keep your dentures clean and how to keep your mouth healthy, it’s best to talk to a professional who can steer you in the right direction. Your dentist can teach you how to keep your gums free of infection and irritation, and he or she could also tell you about the best products to use to disinfect dentures. In addition to checking the overall health of your mouth, including your gums, your dentist will also check on how your dentures are fitting so that they’ll always be comfortable. And if your dentures crack, chip, become loose, or break, your dentist will be able to repair or replace them so you can have a perfect fit—and a perfect smile—again. Modern dentures that are comfortable and look like real teeth are a wonderful choice for anyone who has lost their natural teeth for any reason. Once you get into the groove of caring for your dentures, you can head out with a confident smile every day! Sources: https://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry/dentures/article/oral-care-before-and-after-dentures-0415 https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/dentures https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/caring-dentures#1 https://www.toothwisdom.org/a-z/article/daily-oral-care-for-patients-with-dentures/ https://oralb.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/adults/denture-care-instructions-tips
Should I Have Dental Insurance As A Senior?
Keeping up with oral care as you age is pretty darn important! The scary thing about aging is that you don’t know what lies ahead. The same is true at any age, but the older we get, the more susceptible we are to disease and the decaying of teeth and gums. Dry Mouth Can Wreak Havoc It may not come as a surprise, but dry mouth is a side-effect to over 500 medications.* Anxiety, asthma, and depression are among the many diagnoses which have medications that may have an effect that could potentially lead to cavities. We know yet another thing to worry about. We believe knowing what may or may not lie ahead helps you plan for those unexpected moments. Save on Out-of-Pocket Expenses Of all out-of-pocket health-care costs, 27% are related to dental services.** Between the potential need for dentures, implants, crowns, and having to deal with gum disease or oral cancer, there is such an array of possibilities, that having dental insurance can make all the difference. Not only can insurance help cover you for major services, but it provides multiple cleanings per year which can help keep you motivated to make it to the dentist on a regular basis. It’s best not to wait until the last minute to consult a medical professional about an issue but to stay consistent in trying to prevent the problem before it occurs. Keep Your Smile--And Body--Healthy Aging doesn’t have to be scary. Taking care of yourself should be a priority. Having the protection you need against financial burdens alongside a healthy routine can make a world of difference. Don’t forget to check with your dental insurance provider to make sure you understand your policy and what is covered. If you are in the process of looking for insurance, make it a point to compare coverage and find a plan that best suits your needs. *Concerns, Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association **
4 Habits Seniors Should Embrace for Good Oral Care
How long do you think it takes to form a habit? Well, on average, it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. Whether these tasks are already a frequent occurrence, or you need to start putting an emphasis on change, they’ll help your smile and health stand the test of time. 1. Daily Oral Care If you don’t floss, you miss cleaning 35% of the tooth surface! Make brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing part of your routine. Food particles can get stuck in the crevices of your teeth and without constant maintenance, plaque and tartar can start to form. 17.2% of adults 65 and older have periodontal disease and 10.6% have a severe case.* Although periodontal disease is a step before gum disease, it just goes to show how susceptible you can become without taking the proper steps for prevention. 2. Keep Up with Dental Appointments As we get older, or oral needs change. Keeping to a regular schedule with a 6-month check-up or even an every 3-month visit can make a huge difference when it comes to catching a problem. As mentioned, periodontal disease is a real concern as it can turn into gum disease if not properly taken care of. We suggest finding a dentist you like, and booking your yearly appointments all at once. Once on the schedule, you’ll more than likely receive a reminder call from your dentist about a week out. Setting them in advance allows you to put it out of sight and out of mind. 3. Quit Smoking This one probably doesn’t come as a surprise. Smoking has been a habit among many for years, and the addictive qualities have been proven. Whether you smoke, don’t plan on stopping anytime soon, or have never picked up a cigarette, we think everyone should be aware of the effects: Tooth discoloration Increased buildup of plaque and tartar Lower success rate of dental implants and delayed healing process for periodontal treatment or oral surgery Increased risk of developing oral cancer If you’re looking for a little more incentive to help you quit, visit YouTube. We’re sure there are a few videos that might be scary enough to make even the most avid smoker think twice. 4. Eat Well An apple a day can keep the doctor away. It might not actually keep the doctor away, but with the right nutrition, you are doing your body a tremendous service. Your mouth and oral habits are connected to your overall health, so making the right choice has a full-body effect! What happens when you watch what you eat? Your chances of getting gum disease or tooth decay lessen Eating certain foods can help promote healthy teeth and bones, reducing the risk of tooth loss You will experience an increase in energy Your daily digestion can improve Eating well can be fun. Head to Pinterest or your favorite cookbook for inspiration! These four habits should be embraced by all and not just 65 years and old. If you are a senior, making these part of your routine can help you lead by example for friends and family members. Plus, a smile is one of the prettiest things you can wear, help make yours last a lifetime!
Dental Insurance Helps Seniors Save Money
Taking care of yourself and your body is a top priority as you age. Staying healthy can help you stay younger longer, but it is important to stay knowledgeable about potential happenings so you can safeguard yourself against future problems. The Facts A recent study done by the American Dental Association noted that 66% of adults ages 65 and over have no dental coverage. The study also mentioned that, for the most part, Medicare has never covered comprehensive dental benefits for seniors.* Refusing to purchase dental coverage can potentially result in large out-of-pocket expenses when a problem appears. Speaking to that point, findings from a past dental survey noted that the average dental out-of-pocket costs per household were $873 which is more than one-quarter (27%) of overall health care out-of-pocket costs.** "A recent study done by the American Dental Association noted that 66% of adults age 65 and over have no dental coverage." Peace of Mind for Seniors The age-old question, “what could happen to me,” typically tends to arise when discussing insurance and preventive care. Well, teeth are like bones and over time, they will start to decay. The CDC Division of Oral Health noted that about 25 percent of adults 60 years old and older no longer have any natural teeth.*** As we age, we develop a new set of oral health needs. Purchasing a dental plan that can cover major services like crowns, root canals, implants, dentures, and bridges can save you hundreds in the long run. "25% of adults 60 years old and older no longer have any natural teeth." Besides having the security of knowing you are covered for a major expense, how does your purchase help you now? Spirit Dental plans cover three cleanings per year which will provide you with today’s standard of care. Each plan also offers guaranteed acceptance and allows you to select a personal dentist. With personalized care, your regular (covered) visits can help your dentist detect and evaluate any issue as it emerges--all while you’re secure in the knowledge that you’ve got the financial support to handle it. Maintaining good oral health only helps in maintaining good overall health. You only have one vessel to get you through life, make sure you’re protecting it. Seniors, a small investment now can help you save down the road. Purchase today, use tomorrow. *Source: National Association of Dental Plans, February 2014 **Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, April 2009 ***Source: CDC Division of Oral Health, July 2013