A Healthy Mouth Is Good for Your Body

woman-3498849_1920Regular Dental Checkups Help You Stay Well

Keeping your mouth healthy is not just good for your teeth and gums … it’s important to your overall health, too. Did you know an infection in your mouth—like gingivitis or periodontitis—can spread through your bloodstream to infect another part of your body? Unhealthy mouth bacteria can cause issues like these:

  • This infection of the inner lining of the heart happens when germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread to your heart.
  • Cardiovascular disease. Heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections caused by oral bacteria
  • Pregnancy and birth complications. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
  • Certain bacteria in your mouth can be pulled into your lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.

Your mouth health can also reveal early symptoms of serious diseases.

  • Diabetes, heart disease and dementia. Gum disease can be a symptom of these conditions.
  • Oral cancer. A routine checkup can detect this disease early, when it is most treatable.
  • Gum disease, pale-colored soft tissues and an inflamed tongue may add up to anemia (a lack of healthy red blood cells).
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding and jaw clenching), TMJ disorder (which often causes head and jaw pain), and canker sores or mouth ulcers are all signs of stress.
  • Eating disorders. Anorexia and bulimia cause dental erosion and tooth decay.

Get a routine dental checkup every six months, or more often if your dentist advises it. Your good health depends on it! For more information, visit mouthhealthy.org.

Your Dental Benefits Keep You Covered

Routine dental checkups and preventive services are covered by your Dental Plan, as well as basic and major (restorative) services. If you live within the Willamette Dental Plan area, you may choose from two Dental Plans during Open Enrollment (approximately November 1– December 15).

DENTAL PLAN OPTION 1 (REGENCE) You’ll save money when you choose a participating dentist in the Regence network, although you have the freedom to choose any licensed dentist. There is no deductible. The Plan has a $1,500 annual maximum per person for participants 19 years and older. (There is no annual maximum dollar limit for dependent children under the age of 19.)

  • Diagnostic and preventive services (routine exams, X-rays, teeth cleaning, oral examinations): You pay 20% of the allowed amount.
  • Basic dental services (fillings, oral surgery, emergency treatment, endodontic and periodontal services): You pay 40% of the allowed amount.
  • Major dental services (bridges, crowns, implants, dentures): You pay 50% of the allowed amount. Orthodontia is not covered.

DENTAL PLAN OPTION 2 (WILLAMETTE DENTAL) You must choose a dentist from the Willamette Dental Group’s more than 50 office locations. There is no deductible or annual maximum. You pay a $20 copay per office visit, plus any service copays, if required.

  • Diagnostic and preventive services (routine exams, X-rays, teeth cleaning, fluoride treatment, head and neck cancer screening): $0 copay.
  • NEW COPAY for fillings and simple extractions: You pay a $25 copay.
  • Restorative dentistry and prosthodontics, endodontics and periodontics, oral surgery: Your copay varies by service.
  • Orthodontia: You pay a $2,800 copay.

Please refer to the Summary Plan Description for details.

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