When the importance of oral health is weighed against general overall health, it seems very short sighted of the government to view dental care as an unnecessary part of health care.
Many physical problems that can arise include endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.
Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause. Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection — putting the gums at risk. Gum disease appears to be more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes. Research shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels. Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS.
Osteoporosis — which causes bones to become weak and brittle — might be linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Tooth loss before age 35 might be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
That information alone should be enough to convince anyone that regular trips to the dentist can prevent a lot of bad physical results.
Unfortunately, the dental insurance industry leaves a lot to be desired. Average monthly premiums are $30-$40, and the most coverage in a year is about $1500. Six month to 2 year waiting periods for coverage are the norm. It seems the insurance industry could do a lot better.
One option of interest to seniors is Dental Discount programs. These have no maximum coverage limits, no deductibles; cost about $150 per year. They cover 35%-65% of dental costs which is about what the average dental insurance policy pays and there are no waiting periods for care.
Currently there are about 9 different dental discount plans available in the Rogue Valley.
The best idea is to call your dentist to find which plans are accepted.
The main thing is that with or without dental insurance, you need to put your visits to the dentist on the priority list.
Then let our senators and representatives know that dental care is an important part of our health care.
Contact: www.merkley.senate.gov/contact/ for Jeff Merkley
www.wyden.senate.gov/contact/ for Ron Wyden