We have found a way to save billions in health care.
If every American had a dental appointment every year, the overall health of the nation would improve. That’s because oral health is essential to overall health. The body of research showing a strong connection between oral disease and systemic diseases is growing. When neglected, oral infections can spread to the rest of the body. When coinciding with systemic diseases, gum disease worsens illness.
It is essential that people get oral health care on a regular basis. While there is evidence that the number of children getting dental care is increasing, the number of adults getting care is decreasing. Only about half of needed dental care is being provided. Part of the problem is access to care, but the largest part is the lack of understanding of the oral-systemic health link.
The government, American business and the American people need to understand that regular oral health care makes economic sense. That’s why a study was commissioned to look at the cost-benefit of expanding oral health care. The study provides critically important results. Using the study as a basis, a campaign has been developed to spread the message that oral health care makes financial sense for all of our economy. A white paper and pamphlet have been developed to describe the results of this study.
You and your organization can help by sharing this information with:
- Health care organizations, including insurance companies, which can better integrate oral care into primary care as a core service.
- Policymakers, who can consider mandatory dental coverage to encourage regular care and redesign government programs to extend broader care to adults and children.
- Businesses, which can ensure their employees are covered for oral health and establish wellness programs to encourage use of this coverage.
- Pediatricians, primary care physicians and dental hygienists, who can learn to deliver more extensive care, also exploring models such as virtual exams and community based oral health centers.
Join the effort to increase the awareness that proper oral health care will not only improve one’s overall health, but it will save dollars that would have been spent on medical care.
Regular dental care not only makes health sense, it makes business sense.
The author of the study, Dr. Uma Kelekar, is an Assistant Professor of Health Care Management & Legal Studies at the Marymount University School of Business Administration. Her study highlights the significant, direct economic benefit to government and business of providing dental benefits to all Americans. Dr. Kelekar has a PhD in Public Policy from George Mason University and a Masters in Economics from Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics in India. Her research focuses on themes pertaining to the fields of public finance, health policy and economics, and epidemiology. She has published book chapters and journal articles in Health Policy and Planning, WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health, and Journal of World Medical and Health Policy.