Treat Gum Disease to Reduce Medical Costs

According to a new study by United Concordia, a provider of dental insurance, getting gum disease treatment can reduce costs for related medical conditions–such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and pregnancy–by up to 74%. It also reduced the need for hospitalizations.

A Large Population Study

The study was based on five years worth of data from nearly 340,000 individuals over a five year period. Patients had both United Concordia Dental insurance and Highmark medical insurance, allowing their medical and dental records to be cross-referenced. Patients had gum disease and one or more related health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cerebral vascular disease, coronary artery disease, and pregnancy.

They found that when gum disease was treated, annual medical costs decreased significantly for all related medical conditions. Costs reduced by:

  • 11% for coronary artery disease, about $1090
  • 40% for diabetes, about $2840
  • 41% for cerebral vascular disease, about $5681
  • 74% for pregnancy, about $2433

In addition, the study showed that the risk of hospitalization reduced significantly for most conditions. Hospitalizations for conditions reduced by:

  • 39% for diabetes
  • 21% for strokes (caused by cerebral vascular disease)
  • 29% ¬†for heart disease

These results confirm results released in 2012 focusing just on gum disease and diabetes.

Gum Disease Affects Your Entire Body

We have to approach these numbers with a little caution. After all, they are being released by a private company and haven’t undergone review for publication–they’ve just been released to the press and presented at a scholarly conference. We also haven’t been told about how statistically significant the numbers are. With the size of the population and the size of the reductions, it seems like these should be significant, but we can’t be sure.

Still, these number seem to indicate that gum disease has a significant impact on the development and progression of many health conditions. Whether gum disease does or does not actually cause coronary artery disease or not, it does seem as though it may play an important role in triggering adverse consequences.

This study also shows that it’s never too late to improve your health by having your gum disease treated. If you have any of these serious health conditions and gum disease, it seems that treating your gum disease can reduce your costs and reduce your risks in the future.

If you have gum disease, please call 310-275-5325 to schedule an appointment at Ravon Knopf in Beverly Hills.

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Nicolas A. Ravon DDS MSD

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