Why Dental Health is so important to overall health and wellness
According to the world renowned Mayo Clinic, your mouth functions like a window into the overall state of your physical health. Not only is your mouth one of only a few gateways through which pathogens can access your body, but how well or poorly your teeth and gums fight off germs and disease says a lot about the strength of your overall immune system.
Medical Conditions Influenced by Dental Health
The list of medical conditions that are linked to dental health is long. And since the mouth is so close to both the heart and brain, the presence of certain dental health issues can easily travel and lead to other health issues elsewhere in your body. Check out our Dental Insurance 101 ebook.
Links we know of:
– Periodontitis can lead to low birth weight babies.
– Gum disease can indicate risk for diabetes and exacerbate existing diabetes.
– Periodontal disease can indicate osteoporosis and kidney disease in Seniors Dental Insurance for medicare.
– Losing teeth before the age of 35 can be an indicator for Alzheimer’s later in life.
– Gum disease and poor oral health can lead to endocarditis (infection in the heart’s lining) and coronary arterial disease.
– Lesions in the interior tissues of the mouth can point to HIV/AIDS.
The Impact of Untreated Dental Issues
Even with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), dental health remains an optional rider. Many individuals and families struggle to afford to comply with the ACA and also purchase additional dental insurance. This means many families still are without dental insurance.
Unfortunately, the out-of-pocket costs of dental preventative care and treatment can be prohibitive. So for individuals and families who are already strapped for cash, it can cause financial devastation to have to take care of serious dental issues from a place of personal financial deficit.
Here are standard costs for some common dental treatments:
– Routine cleaning/exam with x-rays: $300
– Cavity: $300
– Tooth extraction: $400
– Wisdom teeth: $400 per tooth
– Root Canal: $1,000+
– Bridge: $2-3,000
– Braces (orthodontia): $5-6,000
– Implant: $900-$3,000 (single implant)
– Dentures: $400 (single tooth) to $8,000 (full mouth)
– Periodontitis (gum disease): $500 – $10,000 (depending on stage)
– Full mouth reconstruction: $45-80,000
The Impact of Paying Out-of-Pocket for Dental Care
According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), more and more individuals and families today are struggling under the burden of debt caused by paying out-of-pocket for dental care.
The average family pays more than $3,000 just for out-of-pocket dental care costs each year. Families report carrying debt of $1,000 or more just for dental care. Another key finding is that just 40 percent of survey respondents reported having dental insurance, either group or individual policies. Perhaps most importantly, however, 45 percent of respondents stated that they had put off going to the dentist purely for financial reasons.
How Dental Insurance Can Help Your Health and Your Wallet
One particularly interesting facet of the RWJF study is that households stated their annual dental care costs were just around $1,000 – whether they had insurance or not.
At first glance, this seems to make a case for going without dental insurance, but those households without dental insurance also reported a much greater variability in their annual expenses for dental care and a much higher incidence of dental care-related debt.
In fact, respondents who had dental insurance said it helped reduce the financial hardship caused by the need for dental care and treatment (defined as more than 10 percent of annual household income being spent on dental care).
Why Good At-Home Dental Care is NOT Enough
Even for individuals who brush, floss and rinse with mouthwash laced with fluoride, this is still not enough to ensure you are safe from common chronic dental health issues.
This is because gum disease is the most common of all dental health issues – and it is number six on the list of worldwide chronic health conditions! So there is a strong likelihood that most adults will have at least a brief bout with it at some point during their lives….which also means a mind-boggling number of people are at risk right now for heart attack, stroke and other deadly health issues that may arise from gum disease. In fact, a University of North Carolina School of Dentistry study reported that people diagnosed with gum disease were twice as likely to die from a heart attack and three times as likely to suffer a stroke.
Yet many people who have gum disease don’t even realize it. In most cases, it takes a dentist to diagnose the condition. When the gums become inflamed, bacteria is the reason. The same bacteria causing mouth inflammation can travel into the bloodstream and reach the heart, the brain, the lungs and other critical mass areas in the body. Since there are more than 500 different types of bacteria that can cause gum disease, treatment begins with testing to find out what is causing the inflammation.
A Taiwanese study showed that of the 720,000 gum disease patients who received treatment, every single patient lowered their risk factors for a stroke later in life.
How to Safeguard Yourself from Debt Due to Uninsured Dental Care Costs
The very best way to ensure you and your family are not weighted down by debt from out-of-pocket dental care costs is to add a dental insurance rider to your existing health care insurance. You have many options here – there are different types of dental insurance policies that fit different needs and budgets.
According to the Consumer Guide to Dentistry, the best way to obtain dental insurance is to purchase a separate dental policy (versus combining it with an existing medical insurance policy). This is because you will get more dental benefits and greater coverage by opting for the former.
Here are some different types of dental insurance you can choose:
– Indemnity dental plan.
– Self-insurance plan.
– Closed panel plan.
– Capitation plan.
– PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plan.
– Direct reimbursement plan.
– Dental care service plan.
Each of these plans will offer you different options, including more or less flexibility with fees and payment versus the ability to select your own dentist and specialists as needed. If you work for an employer that provides health insurance, you should first check with your human resources department and find out what you may have access to through their plans.
In Summary: Dental Insurance is Worth It!
When you take steps to maintain good dental health now, you can look forward to better quality of life later. But that is not all you have to look forward to – you can also enjoy lower dental and medical health care expenses later on, because you took the time now to get dental insurance and go for regular dental check-ups.
A little preventative maintenance today can be worth a life tomorrow, so now is the time to make sure you and your family get dental insurance so you can get the dental care you need to stay healthy for the long term! Check out our BEST DENTAL INSURANCE options now!
Full Coverage Dental Insurance
Many plans say they offer full coverage, but it is up to the buyer to make sure what they believe to be full coverage is and what the dental insurance policy states to be full coverage. Always check the disclaimers when you are purchasing dental insurance.
Senior Dental INsurance
many Medicare Supplement Insurance plans do not covr dental or oral, you will probably want to purchase separate private dental insurance.