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Features / April 9, 2014

Good oral health helps save money

by Guy Hiscott

Keeping up good oral health can reduce medical costs for life-threatening illnesses, a study shows.

The study found that ongoing costs for type 2 diabetes, strokes, heart problems and pregnancy decreased by 40.2%, 40.9%, 10.7% and 73.7% after treatment for gum disease. The study examined 350,000 patients with gum disease.

Hospital admissions for those with diabetes and heart problems were also significantly reduced after gum disease treatment.

Lead researcher Marjorie Jeffcoat, professor and dean emeritus at the Univeristy of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, commented: ‘Although the magnitude of the effect was surprising, the results stress the importance of giving patients dental care as part of total care.’

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive for the British Dental Health Foundation, added: ‘If the government followed the same precedent set in America where some funders are now making oral health treatment free for those suffering from type 2 diabetes, strokes and coronary artery disease, [it] could potentially save the NHS millions of pounds.’

Research was conducted on behalf of the British Dental Health Foundation.

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