Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Your Mouth and Diabetes Good Oral Hygiene Can Ameliorate Diabetes

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Your Mouth and Diabetes Good Oral Hygiene Can Ameliorate Diabetes

Article excerpt

The largest study of its kind recently completed by United Concordia Dental, its parent company Highmark and the University of Pennsylvania shows that treatment for gum disease and ongoing maintenance can decrease the cost of medical care for people with diabetes. This confirms a large body of medical and dental literature that emphasizes the association between diabetes and periodontal disease.

While the exact physiological mechanism is still being studied, the localized inflammation caused by periodontal disease is believed to contribute to the adverse blood sugar levels in a diabetic. These findings clearly demonstrate that, when individuals with diabetes receive treatment for gum disease, significant annual reductions in hospitalizations (33 percent), physician visits (13 percent) and overall medical costs ($1,814) are possible.

The study analyzed data over three years from nearly 1.7 million individuals with both Highmark medical coverage and United Concordia dental coverage to determine the effects of proper periodontal care. When you look at the study's sheer size and scope, as well as its statistical significance, it is clear the results are no fluke -- when individuals with diabetes have their periodontal disease treated, it not only helps them become healthier, it also helps them and their employers save money.

In response to the study's findings, United Concordia developed UCWellness, a new dental program designed to give individuals with diabetes and their employers additional benefits and additional savings. UCWellness is the first dental program to integrate a member engagement and education component, as well as 100 percent coverage for periodontal surgery benefits that some individuals need to treat their disease.

UCWellness provides a means to cut annual medical costs for individuals with diabetes and their employers by thousands of dollars. …

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