In this new age of containing medical costs, it seems the ultimate argument and purpose for oral health services is better overall health. For example, note this excerpt from a recent blog in Health Affairs, an influential journal in organizing the healthcare system: “Periodontal disease treatment can reduce medical costs in patients with diabetes, coronary artery disease, and cerebral vascular disease. Gum disease is strongly linked to poor cognitive brain function among patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The risk of developing dementia has been found to be higher in those with periodontitis than those without it.”
According to a medical claims analysis by a major American insurer, the costs of medical care would drop by double digits if periodontal disease were better managed.
Mention these kind of savings to any Minister of Health and watch his/her interest in oral health grow quickly and significantly.
But integrating oral healthcare into an already challenged medical system is difficult. Lots of professional silos, lots of inertia and vested interests, and seemingly, a desire by many dental professionals to remain independent of the medical team.
CHX considers integrated care to the be a big part of the future of oral healthcare. We are working with medical teams and hospitals on how best to provide timely and cost-effective preventive oral health services with Prevora. Importantly, many of the patients we see in medical settings don’t receive dental services. So the opportunities for reducing medical costs are enormous.