Diabetic? Periodontal Treatment Can Save You Time & Money

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

If you are a diabetic, you may have heard of the connection of periodontal (gum) disease and diabetes. This has to do with the bacteria of gum disease that tends to trigger an inflammatory response. This inflammation sets off a series of different reactions and has been linked to arthritis, coronary artery disease, preterm babies, and more.

Research on periodontal disease bacteria and its effect on the heart, lungs, endocrine system (for diabetes), unborn babies, etc. has been conducted for years across the globe. The latest findings pertaining to diabetes were revealed through a study conducted by United Concordia, the nation’s sixth largest insurer. This study of 1.7 million patients showed a reduction in pharmacy costs by nearly $1,500 per year, on average, after diabetics received a round of treatments for gum disease.

This study follows one previously conducted that revealed how periodontal treatment for diabetics significantly decreased the number of doctor’s office visits and hospitalizations. A savings of fewer medical visits culminated into an annual average of over $1,800 per patient. This most recent study shows how gum therapy tends to lower costs required for hospitalization, medical office visits, and medications,for an annual heath care savings of over $3,200.

The oral health study by United Concordia is the largest of its kind. As a Periodontist, I’m pleased that it represents how thorough periodontal treatment can greatly enhance the overall well-being of diabetic patients. While the decrease in medical costs for diabetics is an appealing bonus, it further emphasizes how periodontal therapy gives significant, whole-health benefits.

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