Focus on Preventive Care: The main difference between dental and medical coverage

by MikeMeehan 10/18/2017 4:39 PM

Cavities are almost 100% preventable. Let’s say that again – cavities are preventable. That means it’s within your power to avoid tooth decay. This is a great thing to remember when you’re considering skipping your dentist visit or going to bed without two minutes of brushing. It’s also one of the reasons dental benefits and medical benefits are designed differently. Preventive care is the focus One of the main differences between dental and medical coverage is the focus on preventive care. While you know healthy choices can decrease your chances of getting sick, medical insurance is used when you do get sick or have an injury. With dental benefits, preventive care is the focus. If you visit the dentist for exams, cleanings and X-rays, you can stop oral health problems before they start. Visiting your dental care provider twice a year for cleanings, which is part of your dental coverage, is preventive care. To promote preventive care, many benefit plans with cover all or most of the cost of routine dental cleanings and examinations. Preventive care in addition to your dental benefits includes practicing good oral health habits like brushing twice a day and flossing. Add all this together with smart food and lifestyle choices, and you’ve got yourself a healthy smile. To sum this up, we use medical benefits when we have a health issue, and we use our dental benefits to prevent dental issues. You can live a healthy life with exercise and a good diet, but you can still get sick. You can visit your dentist, brush your teeth and make good oral health choices and you can prevent oral health problems. Emergencies Another difference when comparing dental benefits and medical benefits is emergencies. Dental care emergencies are rare. Getting a tooth knocked out can require emergency care, but dental emergencies do not happen often especially compared to medical emergencies. Medical benefits reflect this difference in care, such as ER and urgent care facility coverage. Stop problems before they begin Dental benefits work to stop problems before they begin. If you work hard with your preventive care, like visiting the dentist routinely, that can help avoid bigger and more costly problems in the future, like cavities or gum disease. Despite the differences between medical and dental benefits, we believe oral health is a big part of your overall health. Study your dental plan to learn more about your coverage, and remember the power of prevention.

3 Healthy Aging Topics for Oral Health

by MikeMeehan 9/20/2017 12:45 PM

We have oral health concerns for older adults, so we have some information and tips to consider as part of healthy aging. We’ve talked about a diet filled with fruits and vegetables and improving your brushing and flossing technique, which will help your oral health in the long run. But let’s review more focused information concerning your oral health as you get older, or as your parents or loved ones get older. Don’t retire your dental benefits when you retire from work Most of us plan for retirement as best we can, but sometimes those plans do not include funds for dental benefits. Since most lose their employer-sponsored dental insurance when they retire and Medicare doesn’t cover dental, many older adults don’t visit the dentist. We don’t want that to happen. According to a 2012 study, almost 70% of people age 65 and older have gum disease, and gum disease is the most common reason for tooth loss among seniors. Despite issues like cavities, in the same study, about a quarter of adults 65 and older haven’t seen the dentist in the past five years, missing valuable cleanings and oral health exams. In addition to cleaning teeth at each exam, dentists should screen for oral cancer, periodontal disease and other mouth problems that become more common in older individuals. This is why it’s important to keep those appointments. Delta Dental offers low-cost individual plans designed for people of all ages and oral health needs. Consider putting away money for dental benefits when you plan your retirement accounts. Also, maintain your good oral health routines like brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing daily. Whatever your plans are, make sure oral health is a part of your healthy aging. Is your new medication also a prescription for oral health issues? As we age, some of us may face health issues that require medication, and your prescriptions can have negative effects on your oral health. One of the most common side effects from medications is dry mouth. This condition deprives the mouth of saliva, which plays a critical role in preventing tooth decay. To help with this, drink plenty of water and limit caffeine and alcohol. Canker sores, a metallic taste in the mouth, discolored teeth, and “gingival overgrowth” (when gums swell and start to grow over teeth) are other side effects to medication. Consult your doctor and dentist for guidance and more information. Also, it’s important to keep dentists up to date on medications, vitamins and supplements you’re taking so they can monitor your oral health for side effects. If you notice any changes in your oral health, contact your physician or dentist right away. How to help a loved one maintain their oral health Besides encouraging an older loved one to maintain dentist visits and the routine of brushing and flossing daily, for those with a friend or family member with dementia or Alzheimer’s, here are a few tips to consider: Keep step-by-step directions for brushing and flossing near the bathroom sink. Provide a toothbrush with a wider handle or an electric toothbrush with a timer so your loved one knows how long to brush. Notice any discomfort or pain your family member may have during meals or while brushing or flossing teeth. If your loved one is in a full-time care facility, ask how they handle dental care and dental visits. As discussed above, remind your loved one to drink water throughout the day to help with dry mouth, a side effect to many medications. Dry mouth can cause plaque build-up and lead to gum disease. Learn about other dental concerns and ways to counteract them. And look for more about healthy aging and your vision in next week’s blog.

What is a dental plan?

by MikeMeehan 8/24/2017 10:20 AM

A dental plan is a type of health benefit that helps make care more affordable. You pay a monthly or annual fee called a premium, and, in exchange, the dental plan helps you pay for dental services and procedures. Even if you’re generally healthy and have had few or no cavities, it pays to have a dental plan. Here’s why: • Experience better overall health. People who see the dentist regularly are more likely to report good oral health and improved overall well-being. • Detect diseases sooner. More than 120 diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, have symptoms that appear in the mouth. Your dentist may see these signs during an oral exam, allowing you to seek treatment early. • Treat small oral health issues before they become more serious. Regular dental visits mean your dentist can address concerns early and treat them before they become serious. That’s why most plans cover 100 percent of the cost of preventive services like exams and cleanings. • Enjoy cost-savings. In addition to sharing the cost with your dental carrier, you can save even more by visiting in-network dentists since Delta Dental has pre-established fees with these dentists. • Make dental work more affordable. Dental plans help make dental care more budget-friendly, but the savings are especially helpful when unexpected issues arise – they can help reduce expenses you may not have been prepared for. Ready to purchase a dental plan? Visit https://individual.deltadentalmo.com/ to purchase a plan or find additional information.

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