Middle-Aged Adults Report Dental Pain, Poor Prevention in U-M Poll

Man brushing teeth

Oral health is an important part of overall wellness. But forty percent of American adults age 50-64 don’t get the regular preventive dental care they need, according to recent results from the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging. The university’s dental plan aims to make it easier for faculty, staff and retirees to maintain good oral health at any age.

Gaps in Care

Keeping teeth healthy involves a combination of good oral hygiene (e.g., brushing and flossing) and routine preventive dental care (e.g., professional cleaning) with prompt attention to dental problems before they become severe.

More than three-quarters of poll respondents agreed that regular care is important to preventing problems later. So why don’t 40 percent of poll respondents get needed dental care?

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Cost was the most commonly reported answer, given by 69 percent who said they did not get or delayed needed care. Respondents also reported they were afraid of the dentist, couldn’t find time to go, or couldn’t find a dentist. And half of all respondents were uncertain about how they would get dental care after age 65, since it isn’t covered by traditional Medicare.

Dental Care Options Through U-M

U-M faculty, staff and eligible retirees have access to three dental plan options through Delta Dental, all of which cover preventive services like cleanings, checkups and x-rays. This two-minute video gives a brief overview of the three plan options.

You can enroll in or change your dental plan for 2018 during Open Enrollment, October 23 – November 3, 2017.

Faculty, staff and retirees can also access dental care through the clinics available at the School of Dentistry, the nation's #1 ranked dental school offering comprehensive care including all specialities at one convenient location on campus.

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