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Dental care reduces the likelihood that people with diabetes or coronary artery disease will be hospitalized


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Doctors and dentists know that oral health is a critical element of public health, but there are many unknown things regarding the effects of regular dental care and oral, dental and gum health.

  • A new study led by Mayo Clinic was published in the Continuing Education Group in Dentistry, and researchers examined the relationship between preventive dental care, i.e.
  • regular examinations, cleaning, non-surgical gum treatment and the costs of caring for diabetics or coronary arteries.
  • "Preventive dental care has been closely associated with substantial provision for patients with either condition, and even greater for patients with both conditions"
  • says Mayo Clinic Health Services researcher and study lead researcher Dr. Bijan Bora. Bora added: "We measured this as a lump sum payment from the health care plan, which included integrated preventive dental care."

"Interestingly, the biggest cost savings came from the reduced use of inpatient services, so basically, the healthiest mouth was associated with less hospitalization, and this saves money, but more importantly patients remain healthier," Dr. Borah says.

Dr. Bora and his team examined the records of 11,734 adult patients enrolled in a commercial health plan in Arkansas that provided integrated dental preventive care coverage, and study patients were continuously enrolled in the health plan for at least one year during the years 2014 to 2018, suffering from diabetes, coronary artery disease or both.

The researchers focused on patient groups with four and five years of continuous enrolment, comparing the health care costs of those who paid at least one preventive visit each year from enrollment to patients who did not use dental care, and the costs were calculated through total inpatient and outpatient care claims and prescription drugs.

The average annual cost savings for patients receiving at least annual dental care compared to those without any care were as follows:

  1. The publication details outpatient, medication and inpatient costs and contains data from one to three years' continuous enrolment groups.
  2.  In addition to cost analysis for patients with variable use of dental care component with at least one year's attendance and one year's loss during enrolment
  3.  The authors summarize some of the relevant research conducted in recent years, in which this study is expanding.

"Our data show that people with diabetes or coronary artery disease have reduced health care expenses, including a lower likelihood of hospitalization, when receiving regular preventive dental care, however, it is not difficult to conclude that good oral health practices will be beneficial for people with other chronic conditions," Bora says.