Think You’re Too Old for Cavities? Think Again

Think You’re Too Old for Cavities? Think Again

You’re an adult. You brush and floss regularly, and follow your dentist’s instructions. You no longer have to worry about cavities, right? Wrong. According to dental professionals, cavities aren’t just for kids. In fact, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal the risk of developing them can actually increase as we age—with untreated cavities found in 20 percent of adults over the age of 65. Fortunately, there are preventative measures you can take.

Remove sugar from your diet. Sugar is just as bad for your teeth at 40 as it was when you were four. When you eat or drink sugar, bacteria in your mouth produce an acidic substance. This breaks down your tooth enamel and can lead to decay. Learn to recognize sugar in all its forms—including honey, corn syrup, dextrose and fructose—and eliminate them from your diet.

Reduce acidic foods in your diet. Yes, citrus fruits and juices are good for your body. Unfortunately, they aren’t that good for your tooth enamel. Neither is diet soda, white wine, sports drinks, vinegar or pickles. If you must consume acidic foods, drink water along with them.

Use care when consuming sticky foods. Any food that sticks to teeth can promote enamel erosion and tooth decay. This includes dried fruit, caramels and other chewy candies, even bread and crackers. Protect yourself by brushing thoroughly after every meal. If you can’t brush, swish plenty of water around in your mouth.

Increase your calcium intake. Calcium can help strengthen and rebuild enamel. Make sure you’re consuming plenty of dark, leafy greens (like spinach and kale), yogurt and other dairy products.

Brush your teeth correctly. This means at least twice a day for two minutes at a time. You should also floss at least once a day. Your choice of toothpaste is important; make sure you’re using one with fluoride. If your dentist recommends it, you might even want to invest in a stronger prescription variety.

Avoid dry mouth. Saliva actually cleanses your teeth, helping to prevent cavities. Unfortunately, more than 500 different medications can reduce saliva production, causing dry mouth. If you notice this side effect, talk to your doctor about other prescription options.

Don’t delay dental care. Cavities are easier—and cheaper—to treat when they’re small. Don’t stop scheduling twice-yearly cleanings if you lose your employer-sponsored dental insurance. The monthly premium on an individual plan will be less than you’ll pay for complicated fillings and crowns.

Are you interested in exploring your individual or family dental insurance options? Contact us today to learn more about the plans available in your area.


Signing Up for Health Insurance Outside Open Enrollment


Open enrollment for 2015 health coverage may be over, but certain circumstances will still allow you to sign up for—or change—insurance plans. Consider the following events that qualify consumers for special enrollment periods.

You tried to enroll, but couldn’t.

There were fewer technical difficulties this time around, but if you tried to enroll and were unsuccessful due to a website glitch, agent/employee error or misinformation, you may be allowed a 60-day special enrollment period.

You’ve lost your employer-sponsored health benefits.

If you lose your job, your employer cuts your hours, or your employer-sponsored health insurance is no longer available, you may be allowed a 60-day special enrollment period to sign up through the marketplace.

You’re no longer eligible for other types of insurance.

Maybe an income increase has disqualified you for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Perhaps you just turned 26 and can no longer stay on your parents’ insurance. If your circumstances change and you lose eligibility for one insurance plan, you may be allowed a 60-day special enrollment period to sign up for another.

Your place of residence has changed.

If you are a new citizen of the United States, or you just moved back to the U.S. after living abroad, you may be allowed a 60-day special enrollment period to sign up for an Affordable Care Act compliant health insurance program. You can also qualify for a special enrollment period if you were just released from prison.

An emergency or disaster prevented you from signing up.

If you were suffering from a serious medical condition, or experienced a natural disaster, that prevented you from enrolling in a health insurance plan, you may qualify for a 60-day special enrollment period.

Your family circumstances have changed.

If you get married, divorced, legally separated, have a baby, adopt a child, or someone in your household dies, you may qualify for a 60-day special enrollment period to enable you to make changes to your marketplace health insurance plan.

Your income has changed.

If you qualified for a federal subsidy when you signed up for health insurance but are now making more money, you may qualify for a special enrollment period to enable you to choose a new plan. (Note: failure to do so could actually result in a large bill from the IRS when you file your 2015 taxes.) Conversely, if you’re now earning less money and qualify for a larger subsidy, you may also be able to adjust your plan.

You moved to a new service area.

If you have marketplace health insurance and move out of the plan’s service area, you may qualify for a 60-day special enrollment period to choose a new plan.

Open enrollment for 2016 begins on November 1 and ends on January 31. Please don’t hesitate to contact us before then to discuss a special enrollment period for a change in circumstance or get the answers to any other health insurance questions.