The American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) recently published a study from United Concordia Dental that shows reduced hospitalizations and health care costs are possible when individuals with certain chronic conditions, or who are pregnant receive and maintain treatment for gum disease.
"The results are in: oral wellness can help employers and their employees save money," said James Bramson, D.D.S., chief dental officer. "We're excited that our findings have been published online by the AJPM and are scheduled for print publication in August. This means the validity of our study is being supported by the scientific community and that's good news for everyone."
United Concordia joined with Highmark Inc. and renowned researcher Marjorie Jeffcoat, D.M.D., University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) School of Dental Medicine, in analyzing five-years of data to better understand the connection between oral and overall wellness. Using claims information from Highmark and United Concordia, the study looked at 338,891 individuals from 2005-2009 who had both Highmark medical insurance and United Concordia dental coverage; gum disease; and one or more of following conditions: type 2 diabetes, cerebral vascular disease, coronary artery disease and/ or pregnancy.
The study found that treating gum disease was associated with statistically significant decreases in annual medical costs of 40.2 percent, or $2,840 per year in patients with diabetes; 40.9 percent, or $5,681 for those with cerebral vascular disease; 10.7 percent, or $1,090 for those with coronary artery disease; and 73.7 percent, or $2,433 for those who became pregnant. Additionally, hospital admissions decreased by 39.4 percent, 21.2 percent, and 28.6 percent in patients with type 2 diabetes, cerebral vascular (stroke), and coronary artery (heart) disease, respectively.
"I'm pleased that the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has decided to publish the study I've conducted with United Concordia Dental and Highmark Inc.," said Dr. Jeffcoat. "This study shows reduced hospitalizations and health care costs are possible when individuals with gum disease and at least one chronic condition, or who are pregnant receive treatment for their gum disease. Having the study peer-reviewed speaks to the importance of the findings and the credibility of our work."