If you missed Grandparent’s Day September 12th, it’s not too late to Do Something Grand! What better way to continue the celebration than coming together as we commemorate Intergenerational Month throughout September! Together, adults and youth can reach out to decision-makers and begin one of the most important dialogues in our history: discussing how, as a country, we can address the many challenges facing senior citizens – from health and wellness to financial stability.
One of the important challenges we face is increasing oral health care access for all senior citizens. Many dental care benefits in the United States cease upon retirement and routine dental care is not covered by Medicare. How can you advocate for Medicare oral health coverage? If you are an oral health provider, please consider sending an email to your members of Congress, using this template. Additionally, you can use the OPEN “Recess” Toolkit to push Congress to move this issue forward.
- Contact your members of Congress in the House and Senate and ask them to support funding of Medicare dental benefits.
- Consider using the email templates provided in the CareQuest Institute for Oral Health’s Medicare Advocacy Toolkit.
- Take steps outlined in the Advocacy Toolkit from the Oral Health Progress and Equity Network (OPEN).
- Watch this video from Families USA to learn more about how you can help advance this policy.
- Show your support by sharing this letter from The National Coalition of Dentists for Health Equity with your networks.
In addition to navigating oral health care access, aging can make oral health and hygiene more challenging. Colgate’s Oral Care Tips for Older Adults, Teeth Wisdom, along with the resources below addressing common oral health issues as we age, will inform proper dental care:
- Denture-induced tissue inflammation
- Diminished sense of taste
- Dry mouth
- Gum disease
- Medications and cavities
- Overgrowth of fungus in the mouth, known as thrush
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, known as TMJ disease
- Tooth decay
By 2060, the number of US adults aged 65 years or older is expected to reach 98 million, which will be 24% of the overall population. Understanding the correlation between oral health and overall health plays an important role in a healthy lifestyle for today’s seniors. Losing teeth is not a normal outcome of aging. With good oral health care, seniors can keep most if not all their teeth. Without that care, common dental problems occur that can cause serious, related issues affecting overall health.
Remember you are never too old for cavities. Just because most of us enter this world without teeth doesn’t mean we want to exit the same way!
Image provided by Pexels- Marcus Aurelius