Perio treatment reduces medical costs of heart disease

Annual medical costs are lower by $2,956 and $1,029 for individuals with heart disease or cerebrovascular disease, respectively, who are treated for periodontal disease, according to an oral health study conducted by United Concordia.

Treating chronic health conditions such as heart disease and stroke comes with a very high healthcare cost, noted James Bramson, DDS, chief dental officer for United Concordia, in a press release.

"Both sets of findings clearly demonstrate that treating an individual with diabetes who has gum disease can help lower costs," Dr. Bramson said. "The first round revealed a significant reduction in hospitalizations (33%), physician visits (13%), and overall medical costs (of $1,814) per year, while the second set revealed savings of $1,477 in drug costs."

Starting July 1, United Concordia will expand the diseases covered by its UCWellness dental program to include heart disease and stroke. UCWellness, available since March, is the first dental program to integrate a member engagement and education component and 100% coverage for periodontal surgery benefits that members need to treat their disease, according to the company.

Additional findings related to periodontal care in pregnant women and patients with rheumatoid arthritis will be released in the near future.

The United Concordia study, conducted by lead researcher Marjorie Jeffcoat, DMD, a professor and dean emeritus of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, is the largest of its kind showing a connection between oral health and medical costs.

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