Gum Disease Treatment Saves Big Bucks at the Doctor’s Office

Mar 26, 2014, by Dr. Becky Coats

According to a new study, getting gum disease treatment can lead to very large savings at the doctor’s office–and reduce your risk of hospitalization for related conditions like heart attack, stroke, or diabetes.

A Large Population Study

Medical issues linked to gum diseaseThe new study was reported by United Concordia Dental insurance, based on a population of nearly nearly 340,000 patients who had their insurance and Highmark medical insurance. This allowed researchers to look at both dental records and medical records to determine the impact of gum disease on medical expenses for related health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cerebral vascular disease, coronary artery disease, and pregnancy.

Comparing patients who had gum disease treated with those who did not, they found that gum disease treatment resulted in significant savings, such as:

  • $1090 a year for coronary artery disease, about 11%
  • $2433 a year for pregnancy, about 74%
  • $2840 a year for diabetes, about 40%
  • $5681 a year for cerebral vascular disease, about 41%

The analysis also showed that patients had significantly reduced risk of hospitalization for some conditions including:

  • 39% lower risk for diabetes hospitalizations
  • 21% lower risk for strokes (caused by cerebral vascular disease)
  • 29%  lower risk for heart disease

United Concordia had previously released results for diabetes alone.

Gum Disease Affects Your Entire Body

We have long known that gum disease plays an important role in your overall health. There is some dispute about whether gum disease causes conditions like coronary artery disease or pregnancy complications. This new research shows that even if it doesn’t have a causal role, it has a contributory role in adverse outcomes.

And of course, we have to use some skepticism when looking at the numbers. They were just announced in a press release by a private company. They haven’t undergone peer review by other researchers for accuracy and methodology. They also don’t include statistical analysis to tell us whether these numbers are actually significant or may be due to chance. However, with the size of the population, it’s likely that these numbers represent a real effect and not just plain chance.

Perhaps the most important insight of this study is that it’s never too late to improve your health by treating gum disease. Even if you’ve already developed some of these other health conditions related to gum disease, you can still improve your overall prognosis and risk by treating your gum disease.

If you want to treat your gum disease to reduce medical costs, please call 817-481-6888 to schedule an appointment at Grapevine Dental Care in Grapevine, Texas today.