Keeping teeth clean and healthy an help prevent other medical conditions
Sponsored by Hawaii Dental Service
Oral health is important at every stage of your life, so it’s crucial for kupuna to continue to make their teeth a priority! As long as you’re using your mouth to eat and drink, your teeth are an essential part of your body and overall health. Practicing good oral health habits can help prevent diseases or medical conditions from developing.
Many seniors believe tooth loss is a natural consequence of aging, and that’s not entirely true. Maintaining good oral health habits and visiting your dentist regularly will help your teeth and gums last a lifetime. Another misconception is that oral health doesn’t impact overall health. The same way that your mouth is the entry way for nutrients to fuel your body, it is also a way for bacteria and unhealthy food to infect your body. When your teeth and gums are diseased or infected, it will directly impact your overall health.
Good oral health doesn’t end when you retire, so it’s important to plan for dental coverage. Naturally, most people will apply for Medicare two months before they retire, but it does not cover dental visits or procedures. Cobra will provide coverage for up to 18 months, but Hawaii Dental Service has individual dental plans that retirees can pick up as soon as they retire or as a supplement to their Medicare coverage.
“I advise those who are looking to retire in the next few months to look at their options for dental coverage,” says Dr. Kristine San Diego.
Certain conditions such as dry mouth, tooth loss or oral pain are some common reasons why seniors end up in a dentist’s chair. Unfortunately, those problems could have been prevented if they had been proactive and seen a dentist regularly.
“We not only treat dental emergencies, but identify early signs of gum disease or other ailments,” Dr. San Diego explains. “Simply seeing a dentist regularly and maintaining good oral health habits will help you avoid oral emergencies and stay healthier.”