Gum Disease Can Lead to Tooth Loss and Infection
People who got treatment for periodontal disease had lower hospitalization and healthcare costs for other medical conditions compared to people who left their gums untreated. This was the according to the results of a new study.
Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat of the University of Pennsylvania School Of Dental Medicine led the study. She said that they were surprised at the results. Gum disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that’s due to bacteria found at the roots of the teeth. When left untreated, it results to bone loss around the teeth, tooth loss and infection.
Treatment for gum disease includes cleaning the teeth below and above the gum line. In severe cases, surgery might be needed. Dr. Jeffcoat stated that several small studies suggested that treating the condition can help improve the other medical conditions of a person. It can also decrease the risk of premature birth among pregnant women.
Dr. Jeffcoat said that they wanted to see if treating the disease can be beneficial to one’s finances. The researchers looked at the records of patients who have been enrolled in dental and medical plans for at least a year and have been treated for periodontal disease for at least once. The patients must also have coronary artery disease, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, stroke, or have been pregnant. Patients who were treated were counted as those who had several appointments for gum disease in their records.
The researchers found out that patients got reduced healthcare costs as well as hospital stays over a period of five years for those treated for gum disease with the mentioned conditions except for rheumatoid arthritis. Non-dental healthcare costs for patients with stroke or diabetes were reduced by 40 percent once their gum disease was treated by a dentist. People with coronary artery disease reduced their medical healthcare costs by 11 percent.
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