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When you’re planning your next act–otherwise known as retirement–there are a lot of things to consider. There are also a lot of reasons to make sure your mouth is one of them.

Why?

For starters, insurance doesn’t cover it. Basic Medicare doesn’t include dental, and that means planning for dental care in retirement is crucial. Only some Medicare Advantage plans cover your mouth. You’ll need to ensure you’re signed up in advance so that you don’t experience a gap in coverage.

Getting annual oral health checkups saves you money — lots of money. Annual oral health checkups are the best way to find and address early signs of dental problems before they become painful and expensive. So keep getting those regular checkups; it’s even more important as you age.

A mouth checkup helps to spot health problems in other parts of your body. Believe it or not, oral health checkups can indicate issues with your blood sugar, blood health, even bone strength. That’s why more and more physicians are checking their patients’ mouths. When you don’t care for your mouth by flossing daily, brushing twice daily, and snacking smart, bacteria in your mouth can cause inflammation, which has been linked to diabetes and heart disease, and stroke.

While we’re talking health, let’s talk managing diabetes. Your mouth helps there too. Research shows that inflammation that starts in the mouth due to bacteria buildup seems to weaken the body’s ability to control blood sugar. Managing your mouth helps you manage diabetes, and vice versa. A growing number of diabetics are getting this message from their physicians and dentists — make sure you and your healthcare providers have the conversation too.

It keeps you looking good. Excuse this moment of vanity, but who doesn’t want to look their best? Daily flossing helps prevent a receding gum line (a telltale sign of aging) and bad breath – a sure mood killer.

Managing your mouth is clearly an important part of prepping for retirement. It’s as simple as keeping up with your annual oral health checkup and remembering to floss daily and brush twice a day. All simple ways to keep your mouth mighty as you head into your next big adventure.

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