Oral Health in Seniors and Affordable Dental Care

Over time factors such as our oral hygiene, diet, medical diseases, some medication and treatments, physical capabilities, and smoking take their toll on our teeth. According to the National Institute of Health, many seniors suffer from gum disease, tooth loss and other oral health issues which ruin their quality of life by making eating, swallowing and speaking difficult. Our teeth can last a lifetime,growing older doesn’t have to mean the inevitable decline of our oral health, but it does mean that our teeth will require more specialized care. It is important to combine a proper home care routine, like brushing and flossing, with regular visits to the dentist. Routine checkups will help maintain good oral health and increase the likelihood of catching emerging dental problems.

Since finding affordable dental care is difficult, especially after we leave the workplace, here are a few resources to help locate and finance reduced-cost dental care:

Toothwisdom.org – A website created by Oral Health America to connect older adults and their caregivers with low cost dental care and information about the various services in their area.

United Way The United Way may be able to direct you to free or reduced-cost dental services in your community. You can find your local United Way by going to the United Way home page and typing your zip code in the top right.

211.org or call 211 An information and referral service that helps you find United Way community Partners in your area that may provide financial assistance for dental and health care.

Medicaid – Depending on the state, Medicaid may provide comprehensive to no coverage to help cover the cost of dental care. Medicare does not cover most routine dental care or dentures. Click here to find what Medicaid covers in your state.

State Health Department – Your state health department should have a list of local low cost dental care providers in your area.

Local Dental Schools Local dental schools often operate clinics where they offer free or low-cost services to patients in order to provide their students with experience. Procedures are supervised by licensed and experienced dentists. Some schools may hold a health screening event where they offer a comprehensive list of free services from oral exams to oral cancer screenings.

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