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Do you need to see the dentist?

by Sandra Teel

Steel Medicare Insurance

We all know we should see the dentist yearly if not twice yearly, so why don’t we go? Here are some top reasons people don’t see the dentist: “I hate going to the dentist.”

“I don’t have dental insurance.”

“I have dentures.”

“My teeth are fine.”

“I don’t have the time.”

Well, I can’t help you with your anxiety about going to the dentist, but I can give you five good reasons you need to see a dentist at least yearly, even if you have dentures.

1. Sixty-two percent of Medicare beneficiaries rate dental as the highest need. Most Medicare Advantage Plans include preventative dental, which covers things like twice yearly oral exams and cleanings, yearly dental x-rays, and fluoride treatments. If you have a Medicare Supplemental Plan or want more comprehensive coverage, you can add dental through your Medicare insurance broker.

2. Even if you have dentures, it’s important to see the dentist annually. Dentists will check the health of your gums and the fit of your dentures. If you have gained or lost weight, your dentures may not fit as they should.

3. Many diseases can be detected by dentists through x-rays and oral exams—tumors, mumps, tuberculosis, HIV, malignant melanoma, Parkinson’s, mononucleosis, pancreatic cancer, COPD, Addison’s Disease, kidney disease, Cystic Fibrosis, stroke and heart disease, to name a few. Something as simple as a cheek swab can detect cancer in your head, neck or lungs.

4. Adults with diabetes are twice as likely to develop gum disease. Inflammatory disease can increase insulin resistance, affecting blood-sugar levels, and poorly controlled type 2 diabetics are more likely to develop gum disease.

5. If you have swollen or bleeding gums, ulcers, dry mouth, bad breath (halitosis), metallic taste, burning sensation, or growths, you should see a dentist as soon as possible. Bacteria can migrate from the mouth to the lungs or other organs in your body.

Sandra Teel is a licensed independent broker. She can be contacted by calling (657) 2044224 or emailing

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