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Improve Patient's Gums, Improve Patient's Health

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Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a bacterial growth in the mouth that can lead to tooth loss because of destruction of the tissue that surrounds teeth, according to webmd.com.

The study examined claims from 2 Pennsylvania insurance companies to see if costs were lower for patients that had their periodontal disease treated. More than 338,000 records were analyzed. 

?On average, non-dental healthcare costs for people with diabetes or stroke were about 40% lower if their gum disease was treated. For those with coronary artery disease, costs were about 11% lower with treatment.?

?Women who were pregnant and treated for gum disease had medical costs that were 74% lower than those with untreated gum disease, according to findings published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.?

?When gum disease was treated, hospital admissions were also 39% lower among people with diabetes, 21% lower for stroke patients and 29% lower for those with coronary artery disease.?

Though the numbers seem to be in favor of having periodontal disease checked and corrected, the authors of the study acknowledge that more information needs to be evaluated to truly determine the long time benefits.

?But what they?re really getting at here is did treating the oral infections reduce these types of outcomes or adverse events among people with particular (other diseases),? Ryan Demmer, who studied periodontal disease at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York said. ?I think we need more data from clinical trials that can fundamentally answer that question.?

?Absolutely people should be checked?that's why we published this paper in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine,? Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat, head researcher said. ?We didn't publish in a dental journal because we wanted physicians to see it so they could give good advice to their patients.?

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