Why dental care is vital to your overall health

It is sometimes easy to think that dental care is just about your teeth, and that you only really need to visit your dentist when something is wrong. However, our teeth and our mouth are a lot more important than that. In fact, the experts like the World Health Organisation and Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) believe the health of our teeth and gums is a lot more closely linked to our general health and wellbeing than we may think. Including dental care in your best health insurance policy could be important for more than just your teeth or your peace of mind.

Why is dental care important?

Links between oral health and general health the case for action is a report released by DHSV in 2011 and it underlines the importance of oral health to general health, and highlights how dental health can be the canary in the mine for other chronic and deadly diseases.

Everyone develops plaque, which is a white sticky substance of bacteria that forms on our teeth, near our gums. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque, but when it isn’t removed, it turns into tarter, which only a dentist can remove. At GMHBA we understand the importance of removing plaque and we include three teeth cleanings per year in some of our extras policies.

Plaque left untreated can cause teeth to decay and the bacteria, left unchecked, can turn into gum disease – gingivitis then periodontitis.

DHSV has concluded that: ”During the past 15 years, evidence from population-based studies increasingly points to a robust connection between oral health status and serious major chronic diseases.” In other words, there is a link between your health, and the health of your teeth and mouth.

What diseases are associated with dental care?

The study mentioned above reported associations between periodontal disease and/or loss of teeth with a number of chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and dementia, as well as low birth-weight of babies and premature contractions of the uterus. The study also highlighted that periodontal disease appeared to increase the risk of hardening of the arteries, for example in the legs, although acknowledged more studies needed to be done. Dental decay is one of the most costly diet-related diseases in Australia, which is an amazing fact when you think of the costs of coronary disease, high blood pressure and diabetes on the community.

Bronze Hospital & Bronze Extras Set Benefits

Entry level hospital cover. Includes preventative dental and optical.
$ 20.35
per week
Select

Bronze Hospital & Silver Extras Set Benefits

Entry level cover. Cover for a range of popular services that suit your lifestyle.
$ 24.35
per week
Select

Silver Hospital Plus & Bronze Extras Set Benefits

Moderate cover. Includes private hospital with some exclusions. Includes cover for preventative dental.
$ 29.90
per week
Select

Bronze Hospital & Bronze Extras Set Benefits

Entry level hospital cover. Includes preventative dental and optical.
$ 20.35
per week
Select

Bronze Hospital & Silver Extras Set Benefits

Entry level cover. Cover for a range of popular services that suit your lifestyle.
$ 24.35
per week
Select

Silver Hospital Plus & Bronze Extras Set Benefits

Moderate cover. Includes private hospital with some exclusions. Includes cover for preventative dental.
$ 29.90
per week
Select

* The price shown is per week and applies to a Single living in VIC with a $500 excess. It excludes LHC loading and includes a Base Tier Government Rebate

How can health insurance help?

Dental care can, therefore, be an important addition to your best health insurance plan, and GMHBA knows how important preventative dental care can be.

Dental check-ups can prevent decay and dentists can help spot problems before they get too big. On top of that, finding the best health insurance that includes dental care can give you the peace of mind of knowing you can claim benefits when you need to visit the dentist. Preventative dental care can be cheaper than the cost of fixing problems when they come up. We all know visits to the dentist can also be expensive, and that alone can stop some people from seeking treatment.

With all that in mind, GMHBA offers two kinds of dental cover as part of its best health insurance plans – major and general. Major dental offers cover for treatments like complex fillings, extractions, root canals, crowns and dentures. General dental offers cover and benefits for minor fillings, check-ups and cleanings. GMHBA also offers benefits for preventative dental treatments. Importantly, given the link between dental disease and other illnesses, that cover also includes benefits for three plaque removals a year, on top of the two regular check-ups.

What dental care options are there?

Dental care is included in most extras cover, which offers benefits for treatments and services you usually don’t have to visit hospital for, such as physiotherapy, optical and chiropractic. At GMHBA, we offer three main extras covers – Gold, Silver and Bronze. All three covers offer either set benefits or a percentage back on your claims. Our Gold and Silver policies include both major and general dental cover, and our cheaper Bronze cover offers general dental only.

Combining hospital and extras cover can also give you more dental care options, especially our family packages, which can offer 100% back on preventative dental treatments.

All dental cover comes with waiting periods, including preventative dental. Most funds require a 2 month waiting period for general dental treatments, and 12 months for major dental. Most funds also have annual limits for their extras treatments. Annual limits are the maximum amount you can claim for specific treatments over a 12-month period.

When it comes to dental care, there are a few tips outside of health cover that are important to remember to lower your risk of tooth decay:

  • Brush teeth regularly
  • Use fluoride toothpaste
  • Limit sugars, especially between meals; and
  • Have your teeth checked regularly by a dentist or oral health professional. That’ where GMHBA can help.