A smile can be a window to someone’s overall health. More studies over recent years show a connection between oral health and overall health in both adults and children. This connection is due in large part to an association with periodontal disease (gum disease) and systemic diseases. Cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and respiratory disease all impact an individual’s oral health.
Since the health of our mouth impacts our overall health, can we reason that people with dental benefits are healthier? It’s no coincidence our slogan is “Unleash Your Smile Power with Delta Dental.” In many cases across the country, it’s not only about having dental benefits, but also having easy access to dental care that determines their oral and overall health.
Access to Dental Care
We’re proud to say that at Delta Dental of Wyoming we’re backed nationally by the largest network of dentists. We know that families with dental insurance are almost twice as likely to get preventive care as those without it. We understand why it’s important to you and your family that your provider is someone you trust. It’s also important that they are close to where you live or work.
If you have dental benefits and a conveniently located dentist, 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 or not having dental benefits?
- Those who do not have dental benefits are more likely to have extractions and dentures and other restorative care.
- Americans with dental benefits are more likely to go to the dentist, receive preventive care, and experience greater overall health.
Oral and Overall Health Connection
As we know, proper oral health care reduces the harmful bacteria in our mouths. That means you should brush twice per day for two minutes, floss once per day, and regularly visit the dentist. Not only do bacteria in our mouths adversely affect our oral health, but they are connected with diseases like endocarditis, pneumonia, cardiovascular disease, as well as pregnancy and birth complications, according to the Mayo Clinic.
An analysis of 22 articles showed that the risk of cardiovascular disease was 34 percent higher among people with periodontal disease. And as we age, the risk of disease associated with poor oral health only increases due to lack of dental benefits, access to dental care, and dry mouth associated with medications that decrease the flow of saliva in our mouths.
With good oral health care, combined with the body’s natural defenses, we can keep harmful bacteria and acids under control. But without good oral health care and regular visits to the dentist, these bacteria can reach levels that can lead to infections. A decline in the health of the mouth increases your likelihood of developing those diseases.
Quality of Life and Good Oral Health Care
Tooth decay, tooth loss, or having fractured teeth can have a substantial impact on your self-esteem. The good news is that these conditions are nearly 100 percent 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 are Healthier
There is confirmed connection between having dental benefits and being healthier. Because those without coverage are less likely to see the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups, they experience gum (periodontal) disease and other oral health-related problems. These oral health-related problems can be uncomfortable or painful, and lead to overall health concerns.
“Delta Dental’s annual survey shows that nearly all Americans recognize 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 percent of Americans believe that having dental insurance provides peace of mind.”
The Adult’s Oral Health & Well-Being Survey, sponsored by Delta Dental, shows that Americans with dental insurance are 40 percent more likely than the uninsured to visit the dentist on a yearly (or more frequent) basis (77 percent versus 46 percent).
“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 benefits plans, click here.
*Updated March 2022