Why Aren’t Aging Adults Visiting the Dentist?

Aging Adult Dentistry

Aging adults need to get the dental care necessary to preserve their natural teeth and prevent the development of diseases like gingivitis. According to the American Dental Association, 1 out of 5 adults age 75 and over have not been to the dentist in five years. What’s stopping seniors from going to the dentist as often as they should?

They Don’t Have Insurance

When adults turn 65 and retire, they often lose private insurance coverage they may have depended on for dental care. Medicare doesn’t cover dental care, and only 15 states include dental coverage for adults who qualify for Medicaid. When seniors on a fixed income have to work dental care or an individual insurance plan into their budget, it can be taxing, and sometimes impossible.

They Don’t Think Dental Care Is Necessary

One of the reasons aging adults may avoid a trip to the dentist is their belief that it’s not necessary. They may not be aware of the connection between dental health and heart health, or cognitive decline may have altered their perception of dental care as a necessity.

Dental Visits Are Intimidating

Aging adults are at an increased risk of developing a host of conditions and diseases. When an older adult already must attend countless other doctor appointments, they may be intimidated or resistant to adding another medical appointment to their schedule.

Not to mention, in patients dealing with pain already, the prospect of a cavity filling or root canal is not attractive.

There Are Logistical Obstacles

Aging adults who struggle with other health issues may not be mobile. They may not be able to go to the dentist’s office, or they may not have anyone available to bring them to an appointment.

It Starts with Education

Helping seniors get the dental care they need starts with education. Aging adults must recognize that increased age leads to increased risk of dental problems. Also, medicinal side effects can have a negative impact on oral health. From dry mouth to root decay, seniors experience a higher percentage of certain conditions, and only regular dental checkups can identify, treat and stop these conditions from worsening.

Also, seniors should know that dental health problems like periodontal disease have been linked to a higher rate of cardiovascular disease. Aging adults who have been diagnosed with periodontal disease are more likely to develop coronary artery disease, though the exact reasons have yet to be established.

Visiting the dentist and taking care of your oral health can prevent additional medical problems in the future.

Aging adults should be aware that there are many programs available for seniors who may struggle with the price of dental care. To make an appointment or to learn more about how dental care is essential for aging adults, contact Oak Hills Dentistry today.