Diabetes patients who get treatment for oral disease experience fewer diabetes-related hospitalizations and have lower health care costs.
A 2014 study by United Concordia published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that diabetes patients who received treatment for gum disease had 40 percent fewer hospital stays than those who did not receive treatment. The patients who received dental care saved an average of $2,840 per person in annual health care costs, compared to those who did receive treatment. The findings underscore the connection between oral health and overall health, particularly for people managing diabetes.
“…Reduced hospitalizations and health care costs are possible when individuals with at least one chronic condition or who are pregnant receive treatment for their gum disease,” said Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat, DMD, an author of the study.
Individuals diagnosed with diabetes are more susceptible to gum disease. At the same time, gum disease can make controlling blood sugar more difficult, further complicating diabetes treatment. Improved access to dental care can help stop that vicious cycle.
That is why Oral Health Watch supports increasing reimbursement rates for dental providers serving lower income patients with diabetes. Following the nationally recognized Access to Baby & Child Dentistry model, we expect targeted enhanced rates to encourage more dentists to treat diabetes patients before serious – and more expensive – complications develop. Greater access to oral health care could result in medical cost savings to Washington State of $15 million over the biennium.
Click here to learn more about the connection between diabetes and oral health.