According to the CDC, oral health problems plague U.S. adults, with 26% having untreated tooth decay and 46% of those 30 years or older show signs of gum disease. Are you making the effort to take care of your teeth?
Here are some steps to keep those pearly whites shining bright.
Enroll in a Dental Insurance Plan
Over the years, dental insurance has been shifting from a semi-rare fringe benefit to a standard component of most benefit packages. But even if it’s becoming more common, not all employees are enrolling.
It’s in your (and your teeth’s!) best interest to enroll if a plan is available to you. Especially if your plan is structured using a 100-80-50 rule like most are! By this standard:
- Preventive and diagnostic care (including things like checkups, cleanings, x-rays, and oral cancer screenings) are covered up to 100%
- Basic procedures (including things like fillings and gum disease treatment) are covered up to 80%
- Major procedures (including things like dental crowns and bridges) are covered up to 50%
Obviously, every policy varies, and the one offered to you may be structured differently than this. But what about covering the remaining costs? And what about other expensive dental-related costs such as orthodontia?
Fortunately, there’s another option…
Enroll in a Limited Purpose Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
A Limited Purpose FSA (also known as a Limited FSA or Limited Medical FSA) allows you to pay for dental and vision services with tax-free money. It’s a great partner plan if you have or want to enroll in a Health Savings Account (HSA). Since the full annual election is available at the beginning of the plan year, you can save on dental and vision costs while letting funds build in your HSA.
Here are some examples of what you can spend those funds on:
- Artificial teeth/dentures/denture cleaners
- Copayments and dental plan deductibles
- Dental operations, reconstruction, and sealants
- Fluoridation services
- General dental services and procedures
- Orthodontia, including braces and retainers
- Over-the-counter toothache and teething pain relievers
- Teeth grinding prevention devices
This account is dual-purpose so you can use it to cover your yearly vision expenses as well.
Additional Ways to Take Care of Your Teeth
Here’s our dental “floss-ophy” on oral hygiene:
- Brush teeth thoroughly for at least two minutes, twice a day. Don’t forget your tongue!
- Use a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash
- Floss daily to remove dental plaque
- Visit your dentist at least once a year (but twice is better!) for a cleaning
- Drink water after every meal
- Limit your consumption of sugary and acidic foods
- Avoid using tobacco products. If you do smoke, consider quitting
- Limit your consumption of alcoholic drinks to decrease chances of tooth decay
Interested in learning more about Limited Purpose FSA’s? Check out this blog.