According to research by the American Dental Association, the introduction of chairside screening for numerous chronic health conditions by
The Role of Dentists in Whole Body Health Care
We already know that the state of health in our mouth has a significant impact on our total body health, such as the impact of gum disease on heart disease and other chronic health conditions. It’s one of the principles of Kois Center dentists that dental care should be approached from the perspective of how it impacts your overall health.
The Potential Future Role of Dentists
Now it turns out that dentists could serve a much larger role than they do currently if they introduced some simple chairside tests for chronic health conditions, such as high blood pressure. high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Dentists have the potential to make a bigger impact because about 27 million people see a dentist but not a physician each year. This means that these 27 million people could have chronic health conditions that aren’t being treated because they’re unknown.
The rate of people with these undiagnosed health conditions are:
- • 8.2% elevated cholesterol
- • 7.8% hypertension
- • 2.7% diabetes
To attempt to cut down on these conditions, dentists could screen patients and refer them to their physician for treatment. Depending on the number of people that follow-up on the referral, health savings costs would range from $42.4 million to $102.6 million. These figures just focus on the benefits for these three conditions, but if successful, the program could be expanded to other types of chronic disease screening.
These savings are based on the preventive power of treatments if started before symptoms typically drive people to see their physician. The ADA linked these benefits to the preventive power of dentistry in preventing oral disease and injury. With this in mind, it seems that the dental office is the perfect place to initiate new efforts at preventing and early treatment for disease.