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Caring for dental health means caring for financial health

Mark T. Jansen, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield

With rising costs top of mind, Arkansas families and companies are paying close attention to every opportunity to save money. Findings from a recently-released study prove a surprising way to be mindful of finances – it’s making dental health a priority.

Healthy Teeth, Healthy Pocketbook

There is a long-established connection between healthy mouths and healthy bodies, and this study affirms that regular dental check-ups plus good oral health habits are key. This is especially relevant in our state where Arkansas Department of Health numbers reveal we have one of the lowest percentages of dental visits in the nation. Our neighbors who aren’t going to the dentist are at risk for serious – and costly – health problems down the line. Now, for the first time, we have real proof of how preventive dental care can save both individuals and Arkansas businesses thousands of dollars.

Dr. Mark Jansen
Dr. Mark Jansen, Chief Medical Officer

The results of a new study released by the Mayo Clinic, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Life & Specialty Ventures show the link between preventive dental care and significantly lowered healthcare costs. This is particularly strong for people with diabetes or coronary artery disease – two of the most common medical conditions in Arkansas. Its outcome suggests a way forward to improve our state’s oral health ranking and serves as a roadmap for potentially saving hundreds of dollars per person.

Preventive Care Pays Off

The study takes a close look at the relationship between healthcare costs and adherence to preventive dental care among persons with diabetes and coronary disease. These patients were identified based on their medical diagnosis and automatically enrolled in a program that provided additional dental services at no cost. With support provided by care management teams, patients received enhanced preventive dental care and targeted assistance to take advantage of the additional benefits. The findings suggest health plans can reduce costs anywhere between $500 and $1,700 per person.

This study provides very real evidence of what this health savings opportunity means for Arkansans. For employers, it offers a close look at the benefit of providing coverage for dental care. For individuals, it affirms the value of consistent dental care visits.

The results are in. Taking care of our teeth now can save money and future expenses and heartache. With summer coming to a close and the new school year upon us, now is the time to check your healthcare benefits and make an appointment with a dental care provider.

Read the study by visiting

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