Association Between Preventive Dental Care and Healthcare Cost for Patients With Diabetes or Coronary Artery Disease

The two-way link between periodontitis and diabetes has been highlighted in numerous studies in recent years—yet the impact of preventive dental treatments on diabetes control remains unclear. Likewise, while researchers have identified associations between periodontitis and coronary artery disease (CAD), no evidence has emerged that periodontal treatments prevent atherosclerotic vascular disease or change its outcomes.

In a new retrospective study by Bijan Borah and colleagues, co-authored by Dr. Sol Brotman, Santa Fe Group’s senior scholar, the impact of preventive dental care on the healthcare costs of patients with diabetes or CAD is evaluated. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this report, published in the March 2022 issue of Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry, is a first-in-kind study on this topic.

The results indicate that preventive dental care is strongly associated with healthcare cost savings for patients with diabetes and CAD. The key takeaway from these findings is that healthcare plans should provide dental coverage for patients with these diseases, and further, should include and promote programs that improve adherence to preventive dental care.  This study also underscores the importance of medical-dental care integration, particularly in the context of caring for patients with chronic conditions.

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