With so much talk about traditional healthcare coverage, many people tend to forget that it doesn’t usually cover select services like dental or vision. Many progressive politicians like Bernie Sanders push for healthcare to be known as a human right, as it is necessary to survival. However, an important issue that needs to be resolved when discussing healthcare is: does dental count? Unaddressed oral health concerns can lead to larger health concerns, and it makes sense to see them under the same umbrella. However, including dental care with health care could increase the overall cost of universal healthcare. Some argue that simply self-insuring could be more cost-effective than adding dental to healthcare, as dental services typically cost much less than other healthcare services. Since everyone is born with eyes and soon grow teeth, and both of these require regular checkups, it makes common sense that they should be covered under health insurance. Here are some of the most vital reasons that insurance providers should start at least putting dental coverage in their plans.
Oral Health Affects the Rest of the Body
One of the biggest reasons that dentists stand alongside patients in the call for dental care to be recognized as healthcare is that oral health can greatly affect a person’s general health. When there are problems with oral health, they can exacerbate heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. In addition, oral diseases can create unnecessary complications during pregnancy.
People Are in Need of Dental Care
Because dental care is not typically included in most healthcare plans, it’s something that many Americans simply choose to go without. It’s been estimated that one in every four adults have untreated tooth decay in the United States. This shows that tooth care is more in need than ever before. Getting people to take care of their oral health needs simply starts with adding dental insurance to health insurance policies. This also includes making dental care accessible to low-income and disabled citizens, who are often unable to afford dental visits.
Independent Plans Are Overly Expensive
Since dental is not part of the regular healthcare insurance that people are offered through their employer, it often must be purchased on its own. A look at some of the most available insurance plans for dental coverage shows overly expensive plan rates. Many don’t cover much over routine preventive care. In addition, the copays are extremely hefty. It’s actually been shown that the cost of dental care has risen faster than the cost of medical care in the past years.
Oral Problems Can Be Remedied Early On
With the lack of dental insurance many Americans experience, there are many who don’t have checkups twice a year. These checkups are a necessity to catch problems, such as tooth decay, early on. Treated early, these conditions can be remedied with minimal intervention by a dental professional. However, if left untreated, these conditions can lead to major orthodontic repairs.
The days of healthcare insurance not covering dental are, hopefully, going to be gone forever. With all the reasons above, it makes perfect sense to treat oral health as just as important as general healthcare. When dental health is included as a regular part of healthcare coverage, more and more people will benefit from regular oral health checkups.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan