Our Research: Elevating the Importance of Oral Wellness

Critical findings on the oral-systemic connection

At United Concordia Dental, we’re passionate about understanding how oral health impacts whole-body health. To strengthen our commitment to oral wellness, we've conducted several research studies that further solidify its importance to overall health and wellbeing.

The Value of Going to the Dentist

United Concordia Dental’s latest research examines how preventive dental care can impact the average member’s overall health, according to their insurance claims data.

By analyzing three years of data from more than 489,000 members with United Concordia dental insurance and Highmark medical insurance, we uncovered a significant correlation between preventive dental care compliance and medical claims costs, defined as the following:

  • Preventive dental care – Two dental visits a year, including a regular exam and either a routine cleaning or periodontal maintenance
  • Medical costs – The sum of medical expenses across professional (i.e., doctors and specialists), outpatient and inpatient (i.e., hospitals and facilities) and prescription categories

The results: Study participants who received the proper preventive dental care for three consecutive years had lower total medical costs than those who saw the dentist only once in three years or not at all.1

2017 White paper: The Value of Going to the Dentist

The Value of Going to the Dentist

 

How Periodontal Therapy Impacts Health Outcomes in Certain Chronic Conditions

United Concordia’s first major research initiative set out to determine if periodontal treatment and maintenance can lead to improved health outcomes for those who are pregnant or have certain chronic health conditions.

To analyze the connection, we partnered with the University of Pennsylvania School Of Dentistry’s Professor Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat to evaluate the effects of periodontal therapy on medical costs and hospitalizations for a subset of United Concordia and Highmark members. Based on five years of insurance claims data, the subset included members with evidence of both periodontal disease and one of the following:

The results: The 2014 study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, revealed significant medical costs savings and reduced hospitalizations in participates who received periodontal treatment and/or maintenance. These findings demonstrate the importance of periodontal health to overall health.2

2014 White paper: The Missing Piece to Overall Wellness and Lower Medical Costs

The Missing Piece to Overall Wellness and Lower Medical Costs

 

Sources:

1. Value of Going to the Dentist. United Concordia Dental internal research. September 2017.

2. Marjorie K. Jeffcoat, DMD; Robert L. Jeffcoat, PhD; Patricia A. Gladowski, RN, MSN; James B. Bramson, DDS; Jerome J. Blum, DDS. Impact of Periodontal Therapy on General Health: Evidence from Insurance Data for Five Systemic Conditions. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. August 2014.