3 ways to prepare your smile for retirement

Looking forward to retirement is a great reason to smile, and a healthy smile can make your retirement even better. With good oral health, you can enjoy a longer life expectancy and improved quality of life.

As a senior, you’re especially vulnerable to dental issues such as cavities, tooth loss, gum disease and dry mouth. Additionally, oral cancer peaks in frequency in people between ages 60 and 70. Because of the increased likelihood of encountering both major and minor issues as you grow older, you’ll want to take especially good care of your oral health.

Here are three steps you can take to maintain a happy, healthy smile in retirement.

How to help maintain strong oral health in retirement

1. Make sure you have dental coverage

Adults spend the most on dental care between the ages of 65 and 79, but original Medicare (Parts A and B) and Medicare supplemental coverage (Medigap) don’t include dental coverage. Because of this, nearly half of all Medicare recipients don’t have dental benefits.

Fortunately, there are other options that may be available for getting coverage, such as:

  • Most Medicare Advantage Plans (Plan C)
  • Individual coverage offered by benefits providers like Delta Dental
  • Medicaid (in some states)
  • An employer retiree plan
  • A family member’s employer-sponsored plan

2. Consider investing in a health savings account (HSA)

If your employer offers an HSA, you can contribute tax-deductible savings that can earn interest and investment gains. Whatever money you save in your account is yours to keep, and you can make contributions up to the month before enrolling in Medicare. The money in an HSA can be used to fund out-of-pocket medical and dental costs both before and during your retirement.

Using HSA money on eligible health costs grants what’s known as a triple tax advantage: your initial contribution to the account is tax-free, your money’s growth within the account is tax-free and the disbursement for eligible costs is also tax-free.

3. Maintain a consistent oral health care routine

Just because you’ve retired doesn’t mean you should take a break from your oral health care regimen. To prevent tooth decay and gum disease, which are some of the most common chronic diseases in seniors, don’t forget to follow these tips.

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time.
  • Be sure to floss daily.
  • Get regular dental exams and cleanings so your dentist can uncover problems when they’re easier and less expensive to treat.

Finally, be sure to eat plenty of fruits, veggies, lean protein, calcium-rich foods and whole grains to maintain your oral and overall health. With a healthy diet and good habits, you’ll be able to keep a healthy, beautiful smile well into retirement.