News & Resources

Oral Healthcare Can’t Wait®

News & Resources Category: Resources

Recognizing the role of oral health in overall health is essential and is imperative not to delay its care. If every American had a dental appointment every year, the overall health of the nation would improve. More and more studies are proving a link between oral health and health in the rest of the body.

Poor Oral Health Leads to High Medical Costs

A growing body of research has linked oral health, particularly periodontal disease, to several chronic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. Periodontal treatment has been demonstrated to be an effective strategy for lowering overall medical costs.

  • Pregnancy: Poor oral health is associated with low birth weight, preterm birth, preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.
  • Ventilator Associated Pneumonia: Since the oral cavity retains respiratory pathogens, oral hygiene is a cost-effective therapy for patients with VAP.
  • Emergency Room Visits: It is estimated that 78% of oral health-related ED visits can be reduced and diverted to a dental clinic or office, saving the country on average $1.6B annually.
  • Diabetes: For people with diabetes, it was shown that controlling periodontal involvement could save up to $7.4 billion annually in health care costs.

By improving oral health care, research found that the U.S. could save $22.8 billion annually. This underscores the importance of prioritizing oral health, which is linked to overall well-being.

Regular Dental Care Makes Sense

As individuals receive better dental care, their medical health promises to improve. As the national medical health improves, valuable health care dollars return to the government, businesses, and the American people. Here’s how there’s a potential for savings by promoting and providing dental benefits, especially for those with chronic diseases:

  • If 60% of all people with diabetes (insured and uninsured) better managed their oral health, savings could equal close to $29 billion/year.
  • If 50% of dental-related emergency room visits were handled in a community setting, the system could save around $826 million, or $385 per visit.

Resources to Help Spread the Word

Whether you’re a business, patient or member of Congress, the Dental Trade Alliance has put together a few resources to help spread the word on the importance of oral health and its link to overall health.

  • Patients – Get coverage, get treatment
  • Businesses – The Business Case for Oral Health – providing dental coverage is good for business
  • Congress – Support expanded coverage, support increased access to care measures

You and your organization can help by sharing this information with:

  • Policymakers, who can consider mandatory dental coverage to encourage regular care and redesign government programs to extend broader care to adults and children.
  • Businesses, which can ensure their employees are covered for oral health and establish wellness programs to encourage use of this coverage.
  • Pediatricians, primary care physicians and dental hygienists, who can learn to deliver more extensive care, also exploring models such as virtual exams and community based oral health centers.