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Columbia Study on Dental Care & Overall Health

Study shows how dental care affects overall health  

Research shows that effective disease management programs can promote healthy outcomes and reduce health care costs. However, the matters of the mouth are often overlooked when it comes to disease management. We are trying to change that.

Aetna and Columbia University conducted studies of Aetna dental and medical enrollees, published in 2006 and 2011. The first study found that patients with diabetes, coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular disease who received periodontal treatment had lower risk scores (or lower illness burden) than those who did not. The second study showed that women who received preventive dental care had better birth outcomes than those who received no treatment.

Through integrated medical and dental data, Aetna is in a unique position to help evaluate and share, with our members and their doctors, disease patterns that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. We are sending the message that regular dental care is pivotal in the management of our members' overall health.

We hope that by continuing to educate our members about the importance and value of dental care, we can encourage them to visit their dentists regularly.