Tooth decay is growing among senior citizens and has become a serious concern for the dental community. One of the major reasons is lack of dental insurance. Although Medicare coverage is available to all Americans at no cost once they reach the age of 65, dental insurance is not included. This means that senior citizens either need to purchase their own dental insurance, or pay for dental care out of their own pocket. Unfortunately, many are on fixed incomes. To try to remedy the situation, many dentists will work with patients to create affordable treatment solutions.
Both children and seniors are at greater risk for tooth decay due to improper and inadequate brushing and flossing techniques. Children do not have the dexterity, and cannot reach all areas of their teeth. As seniors age, they too lack the strength and dexterity to brush and floss properly. However, children have parents who can help and children also qualify for no-cost dental coverage under Medicaid. Such coverage includes regular preventative cleanings. This is not so for seniors. Because you can function despite severe tooth decay or tooth loss, dental care is a luxury rather than a necessity for them.
About a third of American senior citizens suffer with tooth decay, according to NPR. Without insurance, they cannot afford treatment, and even though dental decay is easily treatable, left untreated it leads to infection, periodontal disease, and eventual tooth loss. If you are one of these people, have a conversation with your dentist today.