Study confirms periodontal treatment reduces medical costs

A new study from United Concordia Dental confirms that periodontal disease treatment can reduce medical costs and hospitalizations.

Individuals with certain medical diseases or conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, or pregnancy in particular can benefit if their periodontal disease is treated.

The study involved more than 338,800 individuals during a five-year period (2005-2009) with both Highmark medical insurance and United Concordia dental coverage. All individuals had periodontal disease and one or more of following conditions: type 2 diabetes, cerebral vascular disease, coronary artery disease, or were pregnant.

The study was led by Marjorie Jeffcoat, DMD, a professor and dean emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Jeffcoat presented the study's findings at the American Association for Dental Research annual meeting in Charlotte, NC.

She noted that the study accounted for the impact of diabetes on stroke, heart disease, and pregnancy data. The goal was to ensure that when individuals with multiple diseases were considered, the researchers accounted for the affect that diabetes may have on their findings.

Periodontal treatment was associated with statistically significant decreases in annual medical costs:

  • Patients with diabetes: 40% or $2,840 per year decrease
  • Patients with cerebral vascular disease: 41% or $5,681 per year decrease
  • Patients with coronary artery disease: 11% or $1,090 per year decrease
  • Patients who became pregnant: 74% or $2,433 per year decrease

Additionally, hospital admissions decreased by 39%, 21%, and 29% in patients with type 2 diabetes, cerebral vascular (stroke), and coronary artery (heart) disease, respectively.

In 2012, United Concordia released the findings of its Oral Health Study, which showed that treatment for periodontal disease is associated with significant decreases in the cost of medical care and hospitalizations for people with type 2 diabetes.

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