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FYI - Partnering with you to create healthy smiles


Partnering with you to help create healthy smiles

How dental providers can help support Veterans’ oral health

This May, in celebration of Military Appreciation month, we focus on the important but often overlooked need for proper oral health care for the Veteran communities. Dental providers play a key role and face unique challenges in meeting these needs.

The staggering statistics of poor oral health care represent all age groups and socioeconomic statuses. According to the  CareQuest Institute, Veterans have significantly higher rates of dental issues compared to non-veteran populations.

42% have experienced periodontal disease compared to 27% for civilians. 56% have active or treated tooth decayversus only 37% of non-Veterans.

Lack of care leads to poor health

Lack of access to affordable dental care is a huge reason for the disparity. The same CareQuest study reports that of the 9.2 million Veterans enrolled in Veterans Administration health

care, only 15% are eligible to access comprehensive dental care. Many have to pay out-of-pocket or go without consistent preventive oral health care. For low-income or homeless Veterans, the costs can be impossible to meet.

This lack of access also affects Veterans’ overall health and quality of life. Poor oral health has been shown to make other medical conditions worse — conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease.

How to help

What can you do to make things better for Veterans? First, learn about some of the problems Veterans might face, including service-related injuries, tobacco use and substance abuse issues. Enhance your screening practices and services to address these issues — for example, implement cancer screenings to make sure those who have used tobacco have not developed oral cancer. Watch for signs of these problems during exams.

One way to support Veterans is by joining Delta Dental's nationwide provider network that serves Veterans and retired military members. As one of the nation's largest dental insurers, we provide coverage for Veterans by offering affordable, high-quality plans that help improve access and encourage preventive care.

Visit our federal website to learn more about the programs. Email to learn more about joining the network.

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