The older adult population is set to make US history. In 2035, they will outnumber children age 18 and younger for the first time ever (at approximately 78 million). The group will grow to almost 94 million by 2060. Sadly, many will not have access to dental care, which will negatively affect their overall health.
However, even with an increase of the older adult population, little has been done to develop true oral health coverage for them. The increase in dental care needs for many older adults in Colorado leads to a decrease in the ability of older people to take care of themselves. A vast number of the older population will fail to go for dental check-ups due to cost. Over 70% of Coloradans have dental insurance, but just over one-third of Coloradans 75 and older have dental insurance.
Dental Care of Older Adults in Colorado
Older adults in Colorado are susceptible to experiencing health-related issues because of poor oral health. They are more likely to develop oral infections that may be dangerous to their overall health as an underserved population. Consequences like these could be associated with a failure of having dental coverage and accessing care.
Our local Colorado partners are addressing health disparities and advancing oral health equity in their communities:
- Marillac Health aims to increase access to care through the integration of a denture technician into their workflow. In return, this will increase available dental appointments for new and existing patients. Additionally, it will cut down on the denture treatment plan length. Overall, Marillac Health will be addressing two major gaps identified in health care: “delayed care/inability to get care when needed” and a fast-growing older adult population.
- Clinica Tepeyac is fully integrating clinical oral hygiene services into their medical clinic. This will improve the dental health of its patients. Many suffer from multiple chronic diseases. Furthermore, the clinic is located in the North Denver neighborhoods Globeville and Elyria-Swansea. This has been designated as a “Medically Underserved Area” by the Department of Health and Human Services. Tepeyac is the only medical clinic providing low-cost oral health care to residents in these North Denver neighborhoods.
Older adults that regularly visit the dentist tend to have a higher chance of retaining their natural teeth.
It is time we open our eyes and mouth wide to the opportunities that await. Join us in improving health inequities in Colorado communities.
Learn About Our Next Funding Opportunity
Our next oral health funding opportunity begins June 1st. Learn more at ddcofoundation.org.