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Having and Using Dental Coverage Benefits Overall Health

by THINK Capital Blue Cross

Mar 26, 2024

Poor dental care not only raises the risk for several serious medical issues, but it also costs families and businesses. Americans lose 92.4 million hours of work or school each year due to unplanned, emergency dental care.

Brushing, flossing, and getting routine dental checkups can do more than brighten your smile. A growing body of research shows they can improve your overall health and reduce your chances of life-threatening medical conditions like heart disease and cancer.

In fact, research has shown improper oral healthcare can raise the risk for several diseases and conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, pneumonia, and respiratory infections. Oral health issues can even impact fertility and contribute to pregnancy complications like premature birth and low birth weight.

Dental health problems also can lead to costly workplace absenteeism and lost productivity. One study calculated Americans lose 92.4 million hours of work or school each year due to unplanned, emergency dental care.

For businesses, this means offering employees dental coverage – and encouraging them to use it – can lead to a healthier workforce far beyond their teeth and gums. Studies show having and using dental coverage can help avoid costly hospital and ER visits. That can translate into fewer missed days of work due to medical issues and a more dependable workforce – saving both employers and employees money in the long run.

2022 national study confirmed the cost savings that come from routine dental care, finding “preventive dental care is strongly associated with significantly lower healthcare costs.” The study followed nearly 12,000 adults with diabetes and/or coronary artery disease over a five-year period. Those who saw a dentist at least once a year spent about $550 less per year on healthcare costs compared to those who did not have a dental visit.

Capital Blue Cross uses a comprehensive approach to encourage employees in its group plans to make the most of their dental coverage.

First, it offers plans with low or no member cost-sharing for diagnostic and preventive services. Preventive dental care is one way to help ease the financial burden of chronic health conditions. In addition, Capital includes enhanced dental benefits to treat gum disease for members with certain chronic health conditions. The enhanced dental benefits are available on most dental plans.

To encourage the use of dental benefits, Capital engages in ongoing communication and education about its dental plans. For customer companies, Capital can provide a dental wellness awareness toolkit with resources that explain the benefits of oral wellness.

For those who cannot easily fit a dental visit into their busy schedules, Capital even offers a teledentistry app that provides convenient access to licensed dentists without an office visit. The app, which can be downloaded on your smartphone or tablet, provides consultations, second opinions, and follow-up care.

THINK (Trusted Health Information, News, and Knowledge) is a community publication of Capital Blue Cross. Our mission is to provide education, resources, and news on the latest health and insurance issues.

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