Delta Dental of Illinois encourages focus on oral health for older adults during Healthy Aging Month

Posted on September 9, 2021 in General oral health

older adults african american woman and man smiling outsideThis September during Healthy Aging Month, Delta Dental of Illinois encourages all adults, especially those 65+, to take time to evaluate their oral health needs.

While good daily oral hygiene is important for everyone, older adults can be at greater risk for oral health conditions such as gum disease, tooth loss and oral cancer. All Illinoisans should maintain good daily oral health habits like brushing twice a day, flossing daily and visiting the dentist, but older adults have special oral health care needs, which makes preventive care even more vital.

Effects of poor oral health can go beyond a person’s mouth. Research continues to show a connection between oral and overall health. Gum disease has been linked to several systemic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.

A recent study by the National Institute on Aging found an association between oral health and dementia, with an analysis revealing that older adults who have gum disease are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Regular preventive visits to the dentist — for Illinoisans of all ages, and especially those 65+ — can help prevent more complex, costly dental care later on. Visiting the dentist for regular checkups and exams is one of the most important things that can be done each year for health and well-being. During a routine examination of the mouth and jaw, a dentist can potentially detect early warning signs of more than 120 diseases.

Having dental benefits can help adults get routine preventive care as most dental plans cover dental checkups at 100%. People with dental benefits are also more likely to visit the dentist than those without coverage. In fact, more than 9 in 10 adults say having dental benefits gives them a reason to go to the dentist at least once a year to get the preventive oral health care they need, according to research by Delta Dental.1

The time to enroll in medical and dental benefits for the new year is coming up soon. An individual dental plan provides coverage for preventive care, as well as more costly procedures that older adults may need, such as additional cleanings, implants, crowns, and more. For more information and to compare plans, visit

1 Delta Dental Plans Association, The State of America’s Oral Health Report