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Treating gum disease could lower medical and pharmacy costs for people with diabetes. (Photo courtesy of lenetstan/Shutterstock)
Nov 19, 2012 | News Americas

Periodontal therapy may lower medical costs by up to $3,200 for diabetics

by Dental Tribune International

HARRISBURG, Pa., USA: Researchers have suggested that treating periodontal disease could lower annual medical and pharmacy costs for individuals with diabetes significantly. In a survey of 1.7 million U.S. patients, they found that patients who received periodontal therapy had fewer medical appointments and medication expenses.

An average of $1,477 on pharmacy costs and an average of $1,814 on medical care costs could be saved per patient per year, irrespective of age and sex, according to Marjorie Jeffcoat, professor at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine, who analyzed the patient data.

"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.

The study provides new evidence for the hypothesis that appropriate dental treatment can help lower medical expenses for a number of chronic diseases such as gingivitis, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, he said. The investigators thus hope that these findings will prompt employers to invest in specific oral health programs.

The survey was conducted earlier this year by United Concordia and Highmark, two dental insurance carriers.

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