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Friday Dental Download: August 1, 2014

This week, we discuss new tools that could change the dental industry, learn why retirees can’t afford to lose dental coverage, and discover that good teeth could lead to a longer life. Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

1. Texas Mission of Mercy: DentaQuest is honored to support the Texas Mission of Mercy this weekend at East View High School in Georgetown, TX. We will be doing presentations in English and Spanish on brushing, flossing, and gum disease and the importance of oral health care from birth to adulthood. DentaQuest believes it is important for everyone to have access to dental care and the Mission of Mercy will help many uninsured or underinsured individuals receive care and stop living with the pain of dental disease.

2. Good teeth could be a longevity marker: A new study from Boston Medical Center and Boston University that found that people who lived to be over 100 years old have better oral health compared to their respective birth cohorts suggests that oral health may be a marker for healthy aging. In addition, researchers found that centenarians’ offspring had more than half of their natural teeth remaining and reported excellent or very good oral health.

3. Enhanced clinical guide helps dentists save natural teeth: Patients’ natural teeth can be saved with the help of a new and improved clinical resource, Treatment Options for the Compromised Tooth: A Decision Guide. The guide is designed to encourage dentists to assess all possible endodontic treatment options before recommending extraction of a compromised tooth.

4. Retirees can’t afford to lose dental coverage: One asset that is vanishing from many retirees’ futures is employer-funded health benefits. When faced with this issue and the exchange environment, retirees are overwhelmingly choosing to forgo dental coverage, a decision that can have serious consequences. Poor oral health can contribute to severe medical issues such as heart disease and diabetes. Yet about 75 percent of Americans 65 or older do not have dental benefits. When purchasing health benefits it’s important for individuals to consider prevention, not just treatment. With the purchase of dental health benefits, retirees’ can go to routine oral screenings and cleanings to prevent oral health issues.

5. Viewing Dentistry in a New Light: New tools are coming soon that could replace traditional dental X-rays, screen for “hidden cavities” and avoid painful extractions, according to a professor at the University of California San Francisco. New optical techniques use light to take instantaneous digital images that can provide a better picture of your teeth and could one day zap cavities with a pinpoint precision.