We’ve discussed the links between periodontal disease and diabetes before, but this is some of the first research that suggests periodontal therapy can actually lower medical costs for those who suffer from diabetes.
A team of researchers surveyed 1.7 million US patients suffering from diabetes. They found that patients who regularly received periodontal therapy had fewer medical appointments and medication expenses for their diabetes treatment. On average, the group surveyed saved $1,477 on medications and $1,814 on medical appointments. So by adding periodontal therapy, the patients saved, on average, over $3,000 for the year. What’s more, these findings were consistent across the demographics of the patients, so race, age, and sex did not matter.
“This research clearly shows individuals with diabetes can benefit from reduced medical and drug costs and fewer hospitalizations and doctor visits by managing their oral health,” said Dr. Anthony Cannon, regional board president of the Greater Philadelphia, Central Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey regions of the American Diabetes Association.
Dr. Cannon went on to say that this survey has provided new evidence that appropriate dental treatment can reduce medical care costs for chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and gingivitis. Their hope is that this study will spur employers into offering more oral health programs as part of their dental insurance plans.
Regular periodontal therapy includes regular dental check-ups along with extra attention to ensure that the patient is not developing periodontal disease. As mentioned before, diabetes and periodontal disease have been linked, so it’s important that diabetes patients be more aware of the periodontal disease risk than nondiabetic dental patients. Now that there is some proof that preventative periodontal treatment reduces medical care costs, hopefully, dentists will start seeing a decline in severe periodontal disease amongst their diabetic patients.
Original study from the Dental Tribune International