Gum Treatments Can Lower Diabetes-Related Medical Costs

People with diabetes who receive treatment for gum disease can enjoy substantial reductions in hospitalizations, doctor visits, and annual medical expenses according to a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania and dental insurer United Concordia Dental.

The study’s results were based on three year’s worth of data from nearly 1.7 million people who have both dental coverage under United Concordia and medical coverage under its parent company, Highmark.

Those results showed that type 2s who received periodontal care enjoy:

   A 33 percent annual reduction in hospitalizations
   Make 13 percent fewer physicians visits
   See their overall annual medical costs decrease by $1,814

Gum disease has often been associated with the development of type 2 diabetes. Studies of the relationship have been going on for more than 50 years.

Current theory holds that type 2 and gum disease—gingivitis and periodontitis—have a “bidirectional” effect on each other. Inflammation in one can aggravate inflammation in the other. Untreated gum disease is known to complicate attempts to manage diabetes, while the converse is true—treated gum disease can help lower diabetic inflammation.
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