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…
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.
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