Did You Know...?

33% One-third of older adults have lost six or more teeth
Lower income older adults visit the dentist less frequently compared to their higher income counterparts.

Meaning...

  • Difficulty chewing nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables
  • Loss of self-confidence
  • Increased risk of chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease and gum disease

Good news! State advocates have taken action to better the oral health of older adults.

Adult Medicaid Dental Benefit

Of the top 13 dental services used by adults 65+ under Medicaid 9 states cover all and 6 states cover none

Community Water Fluoridation

15 states with 90%
or more
of its communities receiving fluoridated water

State Oral Health Plan

  • 34 states have SOHPs
  • 31 include older adults
  • 12 use SMART objectives

Basic Screening Survey

  • 34
    states either have completed a BSS for older adults or are planning to do so
  • 6
    completed a local pilot BSS between 2013–2017
  • 10
    completed a statewide BSS between 2013–2017

Prioritize the oral health of older adults with these policy recomendations:

  • Reinstate, establish, or maintain an extensive adult Medicaid dental benefit
  • Integrate comprehensive dental coverage in Medicare
  • Sustain or expand community water fluoridation
  • Include specific objectives for older adults in all State Oral Health Plans
  • Conduct Basic Screening Surveys of older adults in all states

Sources

Severe Tooth Loss

2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Secondary analysis of publicly available data sets downloaded from https://www.cdc.gov/brfss/annual_data/annual_2016.html on November 13, 2017.

All results were generated using the complex survey procedures in SAS 9.3 and have been appropriately adjusted for the complex sampling design.

Dental Visits

2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Secondary analysis of publicly available data sets downloaded from https://www.cdc.gov/brfss/annual_data/annual_2016.html on November 13, 2017.

All results were generated using the complex survey procedures in SAS 9.3 and have been appropriately adjusted for the complex sampling design.

Adult Medicaid Dental Benefits

Medicaid|Medicare|CHIP Services Dental Association (MSDA) 2015 National Profile of State Medicaid and CHIP Dental Programs. http://www.msdanationalprofile.com/

Community Water Fluoridation

Water system data reported by states to the CDC Water Fluoridation Reporting System as of December 31, 2014, and the U.S. Census Bureau state population estimates for July 2014. Revised July 2016.

State Oral Health Plans

State Dental Directors Survey conducted by Oral Health America in October and November 2017 via Survey Monkey.

Basic Screening Survey

State Dental Directors Survey conducted by Oral Health America in October and November 2017 via Survey Monkey.