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Having healthy teeth and gums is critical for healthy aging. There is a clear connection between poor oral health care and certain chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and even dementia. Yet many older adults do not get the oral health care they need and want. AARP is committed to better understanding the oral health needs and preferences of older adults, the barriers that prevent them from getting oral care, and how much and what kind of oral care they want to pay for.

To better understand the issue, AARP fielded a survey to learn more about older adults’ current oral health needs, the value they place on having regular access to oral health care, and the barriers they face to obtaining such care. We found that older adults have significant unmet oral health needs, that they value access to oral health care as much as physical health care, and that they are willing to pay to get the care they need.

Coming Soon:

  • AARP Public Policy Institute will release a fact sheet on racial and ethnic disparities in oral health status and access to dental coverage.
  • AARP Public Policy Institute will release a paper highlighting findings from a second nationally representative survey of older adults to learn what dental benefits they need and how much they are willing to pay for them.