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Delta Dental Offers Oral Health Tips for Seniors


Healthy Aging Month a Good Time to Think About the Dentist

   

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As we near the end of Healthy Aging Month, Delta Dental reminds seniors that good oral hygiene habits can have a big impact on quality of life and overall health.

One obvious impact is the benefit of keeping one's own teeth. Thanks to increased access to fluoridated water, advanced dental technologies, better education about good oral hygiene practices and more access to dental care, fewer seniors than ever are experiencing complete tooth loss. According to the Centers for Disease Control's 2006 Oral Health Report Card, the percentage of seniors who had lost all of their natural teeth was 19.3 - better than the Healthy People 2010 goal of 20 percent.

The benefits of maintaining good oral health extend beyond the teeth. For instance, as many as 120 different diseases can manifest symptoms in and around the mouth and throat. Diabetes, HIV/AIDS, leukemia, Lou Gehrig's disease and several oral cancers may be first detected with oral manifestations. In a very real sense, a trip to the dentist could be a life-saving experience.

In addition to seeing a dentist on a regular basis, Delta Dental reminds seniors to keep the following in mind:

Delta Dental Plans Association, based in Oak Brook, Ill, is a national network of independent not-for-profit dental service corporations specializing in providing dental benefits programs to 54 million Americans in more than 93,000 groups throughout the country.

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1"Oral Health for Older Americans." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Oral Health, November 21, 2006. www.cdc.gov/OralHealth/publications/factsheets/adult_older.htm
2Ibid.