Dental health

Get a closer look at how oral health connects with overall health

Did you know that taking care of your oral health can help improve your overall health and well-being? Over 50% of U.S. adults over 30 have gum disease.Regular dental visits are an important way to help prevent gum disease and take care of your health in general. 

Do dental insurance plans cover preventive care?

Most dental plans cover preventive care or wellness benefits at 100 percent when you see a network dentist.This dental coverage most often includes the following services. 

Preventive dental service What it includes

Two routine checkups in a 12-month period (one every 6 months)

  • Routine cleanings 
  • Some plans cover more cleanings for an additional copay

Annual oral cancer screenings for covered adults (age 18 and older)

  • Light contrast screening: a test that uses light to help your dentist find health and unhealthy tissue
  • Brush biopsy: a tissue sample taken from a suspicious area
Extra cleanings and gum treatments for expectant mothers (as recommended by your dentist*)
  • Dental cleanings while you’re pregnant and 3 months following delivery
  • Deep scaling (non-surgical gum treatment)
  • Gum maintenance

Regular dental screenings can help reduce the risk of certain medical conditions

When you schedule regular dental screenings, you're taking an important step to help improve your overall health and reduce the risk of these conditions. 

Diabetes

Diabetics have a weakened immune system, which may make it harder to keep bacteria from causing gum disease and raising blood glucose levels.

Heart disease

Gum disease allows bacteria to get into your bloodstream and puts you at risk for heart attack and stroke.

Respiratory conditions

Gum disease bacteria can be inhaled into your lungs, and increase your risk of pneumonia and infections.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Gum disease can increase the severity of arthritis.

Know the warning signs of gum disease

Gum disease is a painless condition that many people don’t realize they have until it’s already done major damage. When your gums become infected, bacteria and toxins enter your bloodstream, which may worsen other health conditions. If you experience any of the following, see your dentist immediately.

  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Gums that bleed when you brush
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Changes in how teeth fit together

Tooth decay is the #1 chronic infectious disease to affect children.3

1 in 5 cases of total tooth loss are linked to diabetes.4

People with severe gum disease have a 4x higher risk of stroke.5

Footnotes

  1. Eke P, Dye BA, Wei L, Thornton-Evans GO, Genco RJ. Prevalence of periodontitis in adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010. J Dent Res 2012; 91(10):
  2. "Plan" may refer to insurance and/or HMO benefit plans. Policies have exclusions, limitations and terms under which the policy may be continued in force or discontinued. For costs and complete details of the coverage, please see your official dental plan documents.
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Children’s Oral Health, Page last reviewed: May 14, 2019.
  4. The American Dental Association. “Diabetes.”
  5. Grau, Armin J. et al. “Periodontal Disease as a Risk Factor for Ischemic Stroke.” Stroke. 2004. Periodontal Disease as a Risk Factor for Ischemic Stroke..

Disclaimers

* Not available in the state of Washington.

Dental plan disclaimers

The information provided is for educational purposes only. If you have a UnitedHealthcare Dental plan, please refer to your certificate of coverage for a full description of benefits.