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      Dental services for seniors

      Some people may be inclined to put their dental health on the back burner, especially if they don't have insurance coverage. It's a reality that the Marquette County Health Department and local dentists are seeing in retirees.

      When it comes to getting your routine oral checkup, it can also show signs of underlying health issues.

      "A lot of it can be related to diabetes and even for medications; a lot of times, changes in medication. The medications can have changes in salivary flow which can cause dry mouth which can cause a whole laundry list of issues that we kind of like to stay on top of," said Dr. Andrew Ekdahl, Northern Trails Dental Care.

      However, according to Fred Benzie with the Marquette County Health Department, a growing number of retirees aren't able to get dental services because they have no dental insurance coverage.

      "Under the Affordable Care Act, dental care is not covered. It was possible for Michigan, as part of their Medicaid Expansion, to cover dental care, but they opted not to do that," said Fred Benzie, Marquette County Health Department (MCHD).

      So, the MCHD is working with local dentists to find ways that would make dental care sustainable and affordable for people after retirement.

      For now, Northern Trails Dental Care in Gwinn is offering a Seniors Day on Thursday, November 14, in an effort to provide care for those who don't have coverage.

      "It's really important to get them in as frequently as we can, just so we can kind of stay on top of anything that might be coming up. Particularly if it has been a few years since they have had a cleaning or an exam or anything like that," said Dr. Andrew Ekdahl, with Northern Trails Dental Care.

      They will conduct cleanings, oral cancer screenings, x-rays and look for any oral problems, like gum disease. Anyone 60 and older can schedule an appointment to be seen that day.

      Benzie says while free dental services are a great opportunity, a more sustainable solution is providing older people with dental care they can afford.

      "I believe that the solution will lie in some type of foundation care which supplements Medicaid reimbursements.There are a variety of sources in our community that might be able to help with that," Benzie said.

      To schedule an appointment with Northern Trails Dental Care in Gwinn, call (906) 346-3314.