Avoid sugary foods. Brush your teeth twice a day. See the dentist twice a year.
All our lives we have been told that these are the keys to good oral hygiene.
But what happens when seniors no longer have dental coverage? How do they track semi-annual preventive dental care visits? How do they pay for necessary dental services apart from regular visits?
Many seniors may struggle to cover the cost of dental care. Regular health insurance doesn’t cover routine dental cleanings and procedures, and dental insurance can be out of budget for many seniors on fixed incomes. But that doesn’t mean older people don’t think it’s important.
Seniors worry about their dental health
In a 2020 survey of adults aged 65-80, 98% of respondents said they thought oral health was important, but less than half rated their oral health as excellent. A quarter rated their oral health as fair or poor.
Additionally, 94% of survey respondents also said they think dental care is as important now as it was when they were younger, and 93% said they think Medicare should be extended to include dental coverage.
If seniors don’t visit the dentist regularly, it’s not because they don’t think it’s important.
Seniors are deprived of dental care
About half of seniors don’t have dental insurance, which means they pay all of their dental costs out of their own pocket. And those prices can be exorbitant: a simple dental cleaning can cost upwards of $100, and more complex dental procedures can end up costing thousands of dollars. This leads many older people to go without.
About a fifth of seniors said they had delayed or forgone needed dental care in the 2020 survey. Their reasons for doing so included out-of-pocket expenses and dental insurance issues/cost of dental insurance.
Almost half of survey respondents said they were missing teeth but did not have dentures or implants to replace the missing teeth.
Dental health is important for overall health
Lack of dental care can be detrimental to an older person’s overall health, as the buildup of bacteria in the mouth can cause serious problems for the rest of the body.
Poor oral health can also contribute to diseases like endocarditis, infection of the inner lining of the heart, cardiovascular disease and pneumonia, according to the Mayo Clinic. Oral cancers are also often discovered during a dental exam, making it an important part of preventative health care.
Additionally, older people with health conditions like diabetes, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease are at a higher risk of developing oral health problems, making dental care an important priority for staying healthy.
A Dental Discount Plan Can Help
For many seniors, the cost of an individual dental insurance plan may be too high for their fixed budget, especially if they currently have no dental issues. But paying out of pocket for cleanings or fillings is also too expensive.
A dental discount plan could be the answer.
Dental discount plans are not insurance. With a dental discount plan, a senior pays a monthly fee to the dental discount plan company who then allows them to pay a discounted rate for services at their dentist.
A discount plan can often lower the price of a dental service by 70-80%, making it more affordable and accessible to seniors.
Ameriplan can reduce dental costs
Ameriplan is a dental discount plan designed to help those who wish to reduce the cost of dental services.
The Ameriplan Dental Plus plan provides access to a national network of more than 100,000 dentists which includes specialists. With Ameriplan, there’s no insurance paperwork to complete and no visit limits. The plan covers oral exams, x-rays, teeth cleaning, fillings and crowns, orthodontics and even cosmetic dentistry.
Low monthly cost suits senior budgets
Seniors can purchase the Ameriplan Dental Plus plan for less than $20 per month, making it a match for many seniors’ budgets. When seniors go to the dentist and use their discount plan, the cost of dental care is much lower.
For example, if an initial oral exam costs $151 without insurance, using Ameriplan will bring that cost down to a more reasonable $35. It can also cut the cost of getting a crown or root canal by more than half.
Dental care is important for the overall health of seniors. Ameriplan can make this necessary care affordable and easy to access. If you or your loved one need help reducing the cost of dental care, check out Ameriplan options.