Oral health is a critical component of overall health and millions of Americans are left without care because oral health coverage is excluded from Medicare. More than 60 million people rely on the Medicare program – and only about one-third of them have any coverage for oral health care.
Without coverage for prevention and care, seniors are at great risk for tooth decay and disease.
- Only two out of five seniors, and only about one-fourth of low-income seniors, visit an oral health professional during a typical year.
- One in five seniors has untreated tooth decay.
- One in five seniors, and two out of five low-income seniors, have complete tooth loss.
Untreated oral health problems have grave health consequences.
- Oral infections can spread to other parts of the body. Further, it is not safe to undergo many other medical procedures when a person has an untreated oral health problem.
- Nearly two out of five low-income seniors report they “very often” struggle with biting and chewing due to poor oral health, which can compound nutritional problems.
Visit Family USA's state specific fact sheets for more information.
This Action Center initiative is made possible by members of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) representing the professional interests of the licensed dental hygiene community. For more information visit ADHA.org.