Avoid sugary foods. Brush your teeth twice a day. See the dentist twice a year.
Our whole lives, we’ve been told those are the keys to good oral hygiene.
But what happens when seniors no longer have dental coverage? How do they keep up with semi-annual preventive care visits to the dentist? How do they pay for needed dental services outside of regular visits?
Many seniors can find themselves struggling to cover the cost of dental care. Regular Medicare does not cover routine dental cleanings and procedures, and dental insurance can be outside the budget for many seniors on a fixed income. But that doesn’t mean seniors don’t think it’s important.
Seniors care about dental health
In a 2020 survey of adults 65-80, 98% of those surveyed said they thought oral health was important, yet less than half rated their oral health as excellent. A quarter rated their oral health as fair or poor.
In addition, 94% of survey respondents also said they thought dental care was as important now as it was when they were younger, and 93% said they thought Medicare should be expanded to include dental coverage.
If seniors aren’t making regular trips to the dentist, it’s not because they don’t think it’s important.
Seniors are missing out on dental care
About half of seniors don’t have dental insurance, which means they pay all of their dental costs out of their own pockets. And those prices can be budget-busting: A simple dental cleaning can run more than $100, and more complex dental procedures can end up costing thousands. This leads to many seniors simply doing without.
About a fifth of seniors reported delaying or forgoing necessary dental care in the 2020 survey. Their reasons for doing so included out-of-pocket costs and problems with dental insurance/cost of dental insurance.
Almost half of respondents to the survey stated they were missing teeth but didn’t have dentures or an implant to replace the missing teeth.
Dental health is important to overall health
Missing out on dental care can be detrimental to a senior’s overall health because bacteria buildup in the mouth can cause serious problems for the rest of the body.
Poor oral health can also contribute to diseases like endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart, cardiovascular disease and pneumonia, according to the Mayo Clinic. Oral cancers are often found during a dental exam as well, making them an important piece of preventive health care.
Plus, seniors with existing health conditions like diabetes, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease are at a higher risk of developing oral health issues, which makes dental care an important priority for remaining healthy.
A dental discount plan can help
For many seniors, the cost of an individual dental insurance plan can be too expensive for their fixed budget, especially if they don’t currently have any dental issues. But paying out of pocket for cleanings or fillings is also too expensive.
A dental discount plan might 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 that then allows them to pay a reduced rate for services at their dentist.
A discount plan can often drop the price of a dental service 70-80%, making it more affordable and accessible for seniors.
Ameriplan can lower dental costs
Ameriplan is a dental discount plan designed to help those who want to lower the cost of dental services.
The Ameriplan Dental Plus plan offers access to a nationwide network of more than 100,000 dentists that includes specialists. With Ameriplan, there’s no insurance paperwork to fill out and no limit on visits. The plan covers oral exams, X-rays, teeth cleaning, fillings and crowns, orthodontics and even cosmetic dentistry.
Low monthly cost fits seniors’ budgets
Seniors can purchase the Ameriplan Dental Plus plan for less than $20 a month, making it a match for many seniors’ budgets. When seniors go to the dentist and use their discount plan, the cost for 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 slice the cost of getting a crown or a root canal by more than half.
Dental care is important to the overall health of seniors. Ameriplan can make that necessary care affordable and easy to access. If you or your loved one needs help with reducing the cost of dental care, check out the Ameriplan options.