We know preventive care is important, but did you know that preventative care includes oral health? Tooth decay and loss, gum disease, and cavities can cause pain and infection and may lead to difficulty speaking, eating, or learning. Oral health can also affect our self-perception and how we feel in social situations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every four adults ages 20 to 64 has cavities. More than $124 billion is spent in the U.S. each year on dental care costs. Seeing a dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups can help prevent any problems and identify them early, helping you save both money and time.
A Healthy Smile is More than Just a Smile
Who doesn’t like to see a bright, white smile in family photos? Still, keep in mind that a healthy smile is more than just something that can boost our confidence. Proper oral health can help reduce the risk of gum disease (also called periodontal disease), which can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. Good oral hygiene can even help decrease the risk for developing certain cancers, especially in women, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Oral health is also an important consideration for pregnant women. Pregnancy can increase the risk for gum disease due to hormone changes, which may lead to premature births and low birth weights.
Visit the Dentist Regularly – But What Does That Mean?
We know dental health and routine dental care are important, so how often should you go to the dentist for a checkup?
According to the American Dental Association, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Dentists recommend getting regular checkups every six months, or at least annually, but some individuals may need to go more or less frequently. You and your dentist should determine a visit schedule based on your unique health needs.
Dentists or dental hygienists will perform a cleaning, take x-rays when appropriate, and do a thorough inspection of your mouth and gums at these routine visits. Dentists can even help detect signs of early oral cancer by performing a quick and painless exam.
Examine Your Dental Insurance Benefits
Costs for dental care can vary depending on the care you need, insurance coverage, and service area. Dental insurance can help offset these costs, including giving you a set number of routine dental cleanings at no cost per year in many instances. You have options when it comes to dental coverage. Depending on your age and current insurance plan, you may already have oral health benefits. You may also want to consider a separate dental plan to supplement your health insurance.
Dental coverage is considered an essential health benefit for children and teens aged 18 and younger; members with Colorado’s Medicaid insurance cover dental visits for adults 20 years old and younger. This means pediatric dental coverage must be included in all Affordable Care Act-compliant individual and family health plans. You can purchase these plans from insurance carriers like RMHP or through a health insurance marketplace, like Connect for Health Colorado.
On the other hand, dental coverage for adults does not have to be included in health plans. Some health plans may include these benefits, but you can also purchase separate dental plans for an additional monthly premium. Different plan levels may be available that offer either higher premiums with lower cost-sharing amounts or lower premiums with higher deductibles and copays. Be sure to verify that your dentist is in your dental plan’s network to make the most of your benefits.
Take action today to keep your smile healthy and schedule your next routine dental visit.