Your Mouth Is Trying to Tell You Something

by | Jan 14, 2016 | General Health, Oral Health

woman biting moneyDid you know that paying attention to the signals your mouth is giving you can result in saving money on healthcare?

A 2014 analysis of insurance company data showed that treating gum disease can improve overall health and lessen complications with other medical conditions. Medical costs were as much as 74% lower for those who had their gum disease treated.

As material from Cigna puts it,

Every dollar spent on preventive dental care could save $8 to $50 in restorative and emergency treatments – and potentially more in additional types of medical treatment.

* * *

Our nationally published study supports an association between treated gum disease and lower medical costs for individuals with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke. When compared with patients undergoing initial treatment for gum disease, patients who were previously treated for gum disease and were receiving maintenance care had reduced medical costs.

Dental & Medical Integration

Routine dental care helps address minor problems before they become major. Program outcomes from studies show that the integration of good preventative dental care and visits with a primary care doctor positively impacts medical health for diabetes, heart disease and stroke. One report from Aetna found that an integrated approach

  • Lowered medical costs by an average of 17%.
  • Improved diabetes control by 45 percent.
  • Reduced the need for major and basic dental services by almost half.
  • Required 3.5% fewer hospital admissions.

Inflammatory Concerns

As a biological dental practice, we’re excited about the possibility of integrating dentistry and medicine. We see it as a promising change in healthcare. When it comes to your health, developing a rich exchange between physicians and dentists has always been the ideal. We know that what we see in your mouth is connected to your entire body’s system.

Oftentimes, your mouth will give the first signs of inflammation in the body. Gum disease, or a tooth abscess, will create inflammation because the body is responding to a bacterial assault, either localized or systemic.

When these acute issues go unchecked, inflammation can become chronic. Chronic inflammation is a potentially dangerous shift because it affects your body in a systemic way, contributing to or exacerbating heart disease, stroke and diabetes — three of the leading causes of death in the US.

Numerous studies have shown the same pathogenic bacteria found in clients diagnosed with gum disease have been found in the blood clots of patients who have suffered a heart attack. This correlation suggests that these oral pathogens can contribute to heart disease and stroke.

Type 2 diabetes is another inflammatory disease that is closely linked to mouth health. One study of nearly 3000 patients found that 93% of those with periodontal disease are at a heightened risk of diabetes. According to the study’s author, Dr. Shiela Strauss of NYU,

In light of these findings, the dental visit could be a useful opportunity to conduct an initial diabetes screening, an important step in identifying those patients who need follow-up testing to diagnose the disease.

Dentists are the only doctors who can diagnose – and treat – gum disease. But for best results, YOU take an ACTIVE role. Prevention is not only a choice; it’s also a vital component of reaching personal health goals — especially if they include saving money and staying out of the hospital.

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This blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for individual health, fitness or medical advice.

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