Recent research indicates that a large proportion of 50-65 year olds are embarrassed and anxious about the state of their teeth. Far too many hope by ignoring their dental problem it will stop, heal itself or simply go away. Unfortunately this isn’t the case as oral health problems can go from bad to worse. It is always important to deal with issues quickly and of course make regular appointments for dental check-ups every 6 months. Prevention is always better than cure.
A survey looking at dental care
Based on a nationally representative sample of middle aged adults, a National Poll on Healthy Aging was carried out by the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation with support from AARP and Michigan Medicine, U-M’s academic medical center.
Around 30% of Americans aged from 50 to 64 years of age feel concerned or embarrassed by the condition of their teeth according to the survey. In addition, a slightly larger proportion have experienced dental conditions which have caused pain. About 40% of those surveyed didn’t book regular examinations, teeth cleanings or have good access to other preventive dental care.
One of the main problems faced by Americans not receiving adequate dental treatment appears to be problems with insurance coverage. In the survey, 28% of respondents reported that they had no insurance covering their needs for basic oral healthcare. In fact, 56% of respondents said they only look for dental treatment if it is a serious or unavoidable problem.
Making the situation worrying; 51% thought they would struggle to get dental insurance or didn’t know how they would afford it at the age of 65.
At least 13% of middle aged respondents believe that Medicare or Medicaid will cover their need for oral care in their retirement years after 65. And of course, traditional Medicare does not pay for routine dental examinations, dental cleanings, etc while Medicaid is also fairly limited.
Comments from experts:
Our findings highlight a stark divide among middle-aged Americans in terms of their oral health now, and a real uncertainty about how they will get and pay for care as they age,” says associate poll director Erica Solway, Ph.D.
This is not out of disregard for the importance of preventive dental care — more than three-quarters of the people we polled agree that regular care is important to preventing problems later. But it does highlight opportunities to improve access to care and insurance options after age 65.” Solway and poll director Preeti Malani, M.D., a professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School.
We know that oral health is a critical factor in overall wellness, and this research helps us identify some key issues — such as affordability and coverage — that we can focus on to address those 40% who are not prevention-focused,” stated Dr. Alison Bryant, Senior Vice President of Research for AARP.
Women who were white, and who had higher incomes or were insured were much more likely to seek preventative care as opposed to the wider population.
Men, African Americans, Hispanics and those with lower incomes, or those without insurance tended to only seek care for serious dental problems.
Among those who strictly followed a regime of preventative dental care, only 13% said they had delayed or hadn’t received dental care when they needed it in the last two years. That figure increased significantly for the remaining portion of those surveyed.
Cost was the most common response as to why dental care had been delayed or not received.
The full article can be found at https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170907093610.htm .
It is important to have regular dental examinations to prevent gum disease, avoid the development of cavities and remove build up of stubborn plaque. We would always urge you to make an appointment with your dentist at your earliest convenience.
At Kelli Slate DDS, we accept a number of financing options including CareCredit: an external financing company offering payment plans with low monthly payments.