|Oral health is often secluded from the rest of the health care system and from conversations about overall health, even though studies show more than 90% of all systemic diseases have oral manifestations. The reality is that oral health is about much more than a smile — it is connected, in many ways, to the body, too. For example, according to new research from the DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement:
And the cost to care for these diseases contributes to growing national health expenditures in the U.S. — above and beyond the $520 million Medicare spends annually on dental emergency room visits or the $6 billion lost in economic productivity from dental-related work absences. Given the rising costs and the evidence of the mouth-body connection, there is an increasing need to break down the silos and advance integration between primary care and dental providers.
- Diabetes raises the risk of developing gum disease by 86%.
- People with gum disease are 3 times more likely to have a stroke involving blood vessels in the back of the brain, which controls vision and other bodily functions.
- Gum disease among pregnant women is associated with preterm births, low birthweight babies and preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication that can cause organ damage and can be fatal.
How? Medical-dental integration.
Medical-dental integration is an approach to care that integrates and coordinates dental medicine into primary care and behavioral health to support individual and population health. Also known as interprofessional practice, or IPP, it has demonstrated positive patient outcomes and reductions in total cost of care. It’s a model of care that holds the patient at the center and allows providers to come up with comprehensive care plans for the whole patient. Myechia Minter-Jordan, president and CEO of the DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement and Catalyst Institute, Inc., shares more in this short video: