Medicare Doesn’t Equal Dental Care. That Can Be a Big Problem

The lack of dental care has been a huge gap in Medicare from its inception. Poor dental health affects an older person’s life in multiple, critical ways and it makes little sense from an efficiency and cost effectiveness perspective to not cover dental care in the Medicare program.

Many people view Medicare as the gold standard of United States health coverage, and any attempt to cut it incurs the wrath of older Americans, a politically powerful group.

But there are substantial coverage gaps in traditional Medicare. One of them is care for your teeth.

Almost one in five adults of Medicare eligibility age (65 years old and older) have untreated cavities. The same proportion have lost all their teeth. Half of Medicare beneficiaries have some periodontal disease, or infection of structures around teeth, including the gums.

Bacteria from such infections can circulate elsewhere in the body, contributing to other health problems such as heart disease and strokes.

And yet traditional Medicare does not cover routine dental care, like checkups, cleanings, fillings, dentures and tooth extraction.

– The New  York Times