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Periodontal therapy may save patients over $5,000 per year

By Dental Tribune International
August 05, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa., USA: A number of studies have linked periodontitis to systemic diseases, such as diabetes, and complications in pregnancy. Now, new research has provided additional evidence that receiving treatment for periodontal disease may result in reduced health care costs and fewer hospitalizations for pregnant patients and individuals with certain chronic conditions.

In the study, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania reviewed insurance claims data of almost 340,000 individuals who had been diagnosed with periodontitis and were either pregnant or had one of the following conditions: Type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

They found that treating periodontal disease was associated with statistically significant decreases in annual medical costs of 40.2 percent ($2,840) for diabetes patients, 40.9 percent ($5,681) for patients with cerebrovascular disease, 10.7 percent ($1,090) for patients with coronary artery disease, and 73.7 percent ($2,433) for pregnant patients.

In addition, a significant decrease in hospital admissions was observed in some of the groups. For patients with Type 2 diabetes, for instance, the researchers reported a reduction of 39.4 percent in hospitalizations. Admissions decreased by 21.2 percent and 28.6 percent in patients with cerebrovascular and coronary artery disease, respectively.

"These cost-based results provide new, independent, and potentially valuable evidence that simple, noninvasive periodontal therapy may improve health outcomes in pregnancy and other systemic conditions," the researchers concluded.

The study, titled "Impact of Periodontal Therapy on General Health: Evidence from Insurance Data for Five Systemic Conditions," was published in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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