People with Dental Benefits are Healthier
Can a smile be a window to someone’s overall health? More studies over recent years show that a connection exists between oral health and overall health in both adults and children. This connection is largely due to an association with gum disease and systemic diseases. For example, cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer and respiratory disease all impact an individual’s oral health. Since the health of our mouth impacts our overall health, can we reason that people with dental benefits are healthier? In many cases across the country, it’s not only about having dental benefits, but also having basic and easy access to dental care that determines their oral and overall health.
Access to Dental Care
We are proud to say that at Delta Dental of Iowa, we are backed by the largest network of dentists in Iowa and the U.S. Why is this important? Because you are far more likely to visit the dentist if your dentist is in your plan’s network. We understand why it’s important to you and your family that your provider is someone you trust and that they are close to where you live or work.
If you have dental benefits and a dentist that is convenient to get to, you are more likely to get the care you and your family needs for a healthy smile. So, with access to a dentist, what is the general impact of having or not having dental benefits?
Oral Health and Overall Health Connection
We also know, proper oral health care decreases the number of harmful bacteria in our mouths. Aside from regular dental checkups, proper oral health care means brushing twice per day for two minutes and flossing at least once per day to eliminate harmful bacteria. Not only do bacteria in our mouths negatively affect our oral health, but they can lead to diseases like pneumonia and cardiovascular disease. Harmful bacteria causing gum disease has been linked to birth complications in pregnant women, according to the Mayo Clinic.
There are a number of studies that showed that the risk of cardiovascular disease was 34% higher among people with gum disease. And as we age, the risk of disease associated with poor oral health only increases due to lack of dental benefits, access to dental care, and “dry mouth” associated with medications that decrease the flow of saliva in our mouths.
With good oral health care, along with the body’s natural defenses, we can keep these harmful bacteria and acids under control. But without good oral health care and regular visits to the dentist, these bacteria can reach levels that can lead to infections. A decline in the health of the mouth increases your likelihood of developing those diseases.
Quality of Life and Good Oral Health Care
Preventing tooth decay, tooth loss, or fractured teeth can have a substantial impact on your self-esteem. The good news is that these conditions are nearly 100% preventable with proper at-home oral health care along with regular visits to the dentist. Good oral health practices and regular dental visits have a direct connection to:
- Your ability to interact with people
- Your quality of life
- The appearance of your smile
- Your ability to pronounce words
- Your ability to chew food
People with Dental Benefits are Healthier
There is a confirmed connection between having dental benefits and being healthier. Because those without coverage are less likely to see the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups, they experience gum disease and other oral health-related problems. These oral health-related problems can be uncomfortable, even painful, and lead to overall health concerns.
“Delta Dental’s annual survey shows that nearly all Americans recognize that their oral health is important to their overall health,” said Dr. Jeffrey Chaffin, vice president and dental director for Delta Dental of Iowa.
“With this growing appreciation of oral health, it isn’t surprising that nearly 85% of Americans believe that having dental insurance provides peace of mind,” Dr. Chaffin told us.
“The health of our teeth and gums contributes to our overall health and general quality of life, including the ability to eat without pain or to smile with confidence,” Dr. Chaffin said. “Dental insurance helps to promote routine, preventive care to maintain our healthy smiles."
The good news is you can also purchase dental benefits on your own if they are not offered through your employer. To get more information about our dental benefits plans, click here.