Maintaining the health of your teeth is not just about which toothpaste is best for you or which toothbrush to choose. (But do always go with soft bristles!) Doctors and dentists are finding more and more evidence that taking care of oral health during retirement years can be as important as maintaining any other part of the body. In addition, statistics show that today’s baby boomers could live as much as 30 years longer than their parents did from prior generations, which places enormous importance on keeping your teeth in prime shape.
According to the Academy of General Dentistry, greater than 90 percent of all systemic diseases present early signs and symptoms orally before anywhere else in the human body.
A few top concerns for folks with aging teeth are the loss of the ability to chew food (which can lead to malnutrition), oral pain, embarrassment from tooth loss, the effect of tooth loss on speech, plus other physical and social concerns.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, about 1 in 5 Americans 65 or older have untreated cavities, and 2 in 3 have gum disease. Bacteria, present in everyone’s mouths to the tune of potentially 500 species at any one time, can grow below the gum line where normal brushing and flossing can’t reach. This is why regular cleanings at a dentist’s office are critical; your hygienist can reach places you simply cannot at home.
Dr. Steve Mascarin, a diplomat of the International Congress of Oral Implantology and a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry was recently interviewed in Forbes on the topic of dental care at retirement age. Poor dental health can invite “stroke, diabetes, and erectile dysfunction,” said Dr. Mascarin.
Allowed to grow, an infection below the gum will ultimately eat away at the bone of your teeth, cause severe and chronic bad breath and, worst of all, the aforementioned severe conditions and diseases. There’s also research that now links poor oral health with Alzheimer’s disease.
On a practical level, Dr. Mascarin notes that 40 percent of the digestion of your food happens in the mouth from chewing. “How can you do that if your teeth are not functioning?,” he asks, rhetorically.
“The most important cost effective habits that boomers must continue into retirement are regular home care, 3-6 month professional cleanings and annual check-ups from a dentist,” Dr. Mascarin told Forbes.
Yet, basic dental coverage is not part of Medicare and in excess of 70% of baby boomers entering retirement age will not have dental coverage. That’s why you need dental insurance from your association and AMBA. We can offer a range of plans that provide the critical coverage you need in order to maintain the best possible dental health once you’ve retired. And all at the great groups rates you’ve grown accustomed to when you were working full-time. Click here to learn more: www.myambabenefits.info.