During American Heart Month in February, United Concordia Dental, one of the nation's largest dental insurers, wants to remind adults that taking care of their teeth and gums is an important part of promoting heart health.
"There's plenty of research out there that links the oral health of your mouth to other medical conditions such as heart disease and stroke," said Jerome Blum, D.D.S., corporate dental director of United Concordia Dental. "In fact, a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the risk for heart disease among people with gum disease is nearly three times higher than those without it."
More than 75 percent of American adults suffer from periodontal disease, a chronic inflammatory condition that destroys bone and gum tissues that support the teeth, according to the American Academy of Periodontology.
"This number is staggering," said Dr. Blum. "In light of these findings, it's more important than ever to understand the connection between gum disease and other chronic conditions."
For this reason, United Concordia has partnered with its parent company, Highmark Inc., and the University of Pennsylvania, to fund a two-year study that looks at the effect of dental treatment on medical costs.
The goal is to determine if dental cleanings and/or treatment of gum disease can decrease the cost of medical care in patients who have certain medical conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke. The data will come from unidentified subjects who have been enrolled with United Concordia Dental and Highmark for at least three years.
"The study will provide our company with additional evidence of the link between a person's overall and oral health," said Dr. Blum. "We expect to see the first round of results later this year."
For more information, visit www.UnitedConcordia.com
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