We know that our overall health is closely integrated with our oral health. The impacts of poor oral health extend beyond your teeth and gums to affect your heart, blood vessels, lungs, brain, and other parts of your body. And we know that treating gum disease and infected teeth can improve your overall health.
Now a new study quantifies these benefits, showing that people with type 2 diabetes could save nearly $6000 in lifetime healthcare costs compared to those that don’t treat their gum disease. This is not the first study to show this type of savings. It’s an important confirmation that there are tangible financial benefits to getting regular dental care.
Periodontal Care Is Diabetes Care
This study, published in March in the journal Diabetes Care, looked at the potential benefit from expanding periodontal treatment for people with type 2 diabetes. Researchers created models based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and several studies looking at the benefits of periodontal treatment for people with type 2 diabetes.
They found that increasing the level of periodontal care for type 2 diabetes patients would reduce the risks for many health conditions:
- 34% lower risk of tooth loss
- 21% lower risk of nephropathy
- 18% lower risk of neuropathy
- 18% lower risk of retinopathy
Nephropathy is a type of kidney disease caused by damage to the blood vessels in the kidney. Neuropathy is the degeneration of nerves, causing pain and numbness usually in the limbs. Retinopathy is damage to blood vessels in the eye that can impair vision, potentially leading to blindness. All are common complications of diabetes.
Overall, the study estimated a lifetime savings of $5900 in reduced healthcare costs for type 2 diabetes .
Earlier Studies on Gum Disease and Cost
As we mentioned above, this is not the first study to show that treating gum disease leads to tangible cost savings. Perhaps the best study in this was conducted by the insurer United Concordia, who looked at how much costs and hospitalizations could be reduced for people who had gum disease and one other health condition, such as stroke, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and pregnancy.
This study found that treating gum disease for these members led to annual cost reductions of:
- $5681 for stroke patients
- $1090 for coronary artery disease patients
- $2840 for diabetes patients
- $2433 for pregnant women
In addition to the cost reductions, treating gum disease reduced hospitalizations by 21% for those with stroke, 29% for those with heart disease, and 39% for those with diabetes.
Good Health Depends on a Healthy Mouth
We are all looking to stay healthy and reduce our risks of ending up in the hospital, especially now when healthcare resources are stretched to their limits. Taking good care of your oral health with regular dental care is a great step toward protecting yourself from health risks.
If you are looking for a dentist in Naples, FL who can help prevent or treat gum disease, let the Massa Dental Center take care of you. At Massa Dental Center, you can feel confident that our infection control procedures meet or exceed the recommendations of the CDC and the American Dental Association (ADA). We space our appointments to minimize contact between patients and screen patients for COVID-19 symptoms before they enter the office. We use BioBlasting several times a day to target viruses on surfaces in the office, and our intraoral evacuation dams reduce aerosols from patients by 90%.
If you have additional questions about our procedures or want to schedule an appointment, please call (239) 597-7333 today to talk to us.