Can a smile be a window to someone’s overall health? Through the years, studies have shown that there’s a connection between oral health and overall health. Cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and respiratory disease all impact an individual’s oral health. Since the health of our mouth impacts our overall health, having access to dental care and dental benefits, can lead to better health outcomes.
Access to Dental Care
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 need for a healthy smile. So, with access to a dentist, what is the general impact of having dental benefits?
- Americans with dental benefits are more likely to go to the dentist, receive preventive care, and experience greater overall health.
Those who have dental benefits are less likely to have extractions and dentures, and other restorative care.
Delta Dental of Colorado is backed by one the largest national network of dentists. You are more likely to visit the dentist if your plan’s network of dental providers accessible far and wide. 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.
Oral Health and Overall Health Connection
Proper oral health care decreases the number of harmful bacteria in our mouths. That means brushing twice per day for two minutes, flossing at least once per day, and regular check-ups with the dentist. Not only do bacteria in our mouths adversely affect our oral health, but they have been linked to diseases like endocarditis, pneumonia, cardiovascular disease, as well as pregnancy and birth complications, according to the Mayo Clinic.
As we age, the risk of disease associated with poor oral health increases, especially when there’s a lack of dental benefits and access to dental care. Without good oral health care and regular visits to the dentist, harmful bacteria can reach levels that can lead to infections and systemic 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 Tend to be Healthier
There is a connection between having dental benefits and being healthier. Because those without coverage are less likely to see the dentist for regular cleanings and check-ups, they experience periodontal (gum) disease and other oral health related problems at higher rates than those with coverage. 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 Joe Dill, DDS, MBA, Delta Dental Plans Association’s vice president of dental science and network strategy.
“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. Dill told us.
The Adult Oral Health & Well-Being Survey sponsored by Delta Dental shows that Americans with dental insurance are 40% more likely than the uninsured to see the dentist on a yearly (or more frequent) basis (77% vs. 46%).
“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. Dill said. “Dental insurance helps to promote routine, preventive care to maintain our healthy smiles.”
To get more information about our dental benefit plans, click here.