Seniors – Oral Health Watch

Healthy aging includes good oral health

The number of older adults retaining their original teeth has increased steadily since the 1970s, and that trend is likely to continue with greater access to fluoridated tap water and advances in dentistry. That means ensuring seniors get routine and preventive oral health care is more important than ever.

Older adults disproportionately take more prescription and over-the-counter medications that can cause dry mouth and experience chronic ailments like diabetes that can affect gum health and worsen oral health. Unfortunately, this also comes at a time when adults ages 65 and older lose coverage through workplace insurance plans once they retire and Medicare does not include routine dental care, forcing many older adults to pay out of pocket for vital care.

Oral Health Watch supports efforts to expand dental care access for senior citizens and raise public awareness of the importance of maintaining good oral health in retirement. Programs that promote collaboration among health care professionals like dentists, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, home care providers and nursing home aides can help address oral health concerns before they become more serious or impact overall health. Lawmakers also should consider a resolution in support of Medicare having a dental benefit so that Washington state seniors can get the care they need because providing older adults access to essential dental care improves overall health and quality of life.

Click here to tell legislators that you support dental care coverage for seniors.

To find a dentist, click here.

Opportunities to Improve the Medicaid Dental Program

By: Diane Oakes, President & CEO of Arcora Foundation When our state legislators passed the 2019–2021 Operating Budget in the final days of the session, they included a proviso directing the Health Care Authority (HCA) to stop moving forward with the planned implementation of Medicaid dental managed care, to continue directly administering the program under…

Apple Health dental program investments good policy, the right thing to do

Oral Health Watch and the nearly two million Washington residents with Apple Health (Medicaid) dental coverage need your support. While the House and Governor’s budgets include an increase for the Apple Health dental program, the Senate budget represents a cut of more than $19M in total funds ($7.8M in state funds) from the program. The…

Expanding dental care access is a top priority during 2019 legislative session

Oral Health Watch believes every person should enjoy the benefits of good oral health and that no one should be burdened by painful cavities and untreated oral disease. As Washington lawmakers return to Olympia for a 105-day legislative session this week, OHW would like to share some of the legislative priorities of oral health advocates.…

Making progress toward improved oral health care access

Oral health care advocates had a good deal to cheer about in 2018 as both Washington state and the federal government signed into law legislation aimed at expanding dental care access for underserved populations. This year began with a short Washington state legislative session that yielded multiple oral health care access gains, including the Legislature’s…

Open Enrollment Ends Dec. 15th

Washington residents seeking health care coverage for 2019 on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange have until Saturday, December 15thbefore the open enrollment period ends. Enrollment for Apple Health, our state’s Medicaid program, is available year-round for individuals and families that qualify for free or low-cost health coverage. The number of people signing up for care in…

Make your voice heard for immigrant families

By Litonya Lester, Health Policy Director and Sarah Domondon, Policy and Advocacy Associate at Children’s Alliance Immigrant families shouldn’t have to choose between getting dental care and their stability in the U.S. But the White House’s current proposed rule on public charge have many wondering if accessing vital services will put them at risk. Luckily…

Op-ed: Equity requires retaining dental coverage

State of Reform •

Policymakers in Olympia confronting the financial damage caused by COVID-19 have some difficult decisions to make…Yet, it would be a huge mistake to cut essential health care safety net programs for people who are the most vulnerable and are already experiencing health inequities.