The Importance of Dental Care for Seniors

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Like many conditions that affect our health, the very young and the very old are more susceptible to serious complications stemming from poor oral health. Dental care for senior citizens is no exception. Currently, 13% of the Canadian population is over the age of 65. That figure is expected to be closer to 18% in 2021 – just seven years from now. This rapid increase in the elderly population comes with a host of new considerations for the dental health needs of an aging population.

Most provincial health insurance plans offer some extended prescription drug coverage for senior citizens and residents on social assistance, however this coverage still does not include coverage for dental care in most cases. This new gap in coverage may come as a surprise for Canadians approaching retirement who will no longer be eligible for group benefits.

Treatment Advances

Thanks to access to dental treatment early in life and advances in dental health care, more and more people are reaching retirement with all of their natural teeth. However, there is a stark contrast in the oral health and tooth retention of those who have the means to pay for ongoing dental maintenance and those who do not. Though specific statistics on the correlation are not kept, it is a logical leap to assume those who are able to keep up with ongoing dental maintenance later in life are those who have dental insurance.

Dental Insurance for Seniors

Senior citizens in Canada are fortunate to not have to worry about many of the expenses of healthcare in their twilight years, but we now know proper oral health is a critical component of our overall health. Dental conditions such as periodontal disease and increased cavities are more common in older people and these conditions require ongoing visits to the dentist to identify and manage them.

In spite of this, the elderly in Canada have less access to oral health care services and poorer oral health status than other age groups.1 This is a critical issue that, if not addressed by changes to provincial health insurance, must be addressed through arranging private health insurance.

It can be tough to convince those already on a fixed income that the way to protect themselves from the high cost of emergency dental treatment is the monthly expense of private dental insurance. However, when comparing the cost of regular dental visits and treatment of minor issues against the cost of treatment from an emergency trip to the dentist office in the middle of a crisis, dental insurance premiums will nearly always be the more cost effective solution.

Dental insurance can be a key factor in maintaining good oral health, and ultimately good health, for years to come for Canadian seniors. It is important to note that some age and eligibility restrictions may apply to dental health coverage, so if you foresee the need for private dental health insurance when your group coverage ends, it is important to start doing your homework now. To find the right solution for your dental health care needs, contact an insurance broker today.


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