Assessing the association between receipt of dental care, diabetes control measures and health care utilization.
ABSTRACT The literature contains few studies regarding the relationships between receipt of regular dental care and medical outcomes for people with type 2 diabetes.
The authors compared hemoglobin A(1c) (HbA(1c)) levels (< 7 percent versus < 7 percent), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (< 100 milligrams/deciliter versus ≥ 100 mg/dL) and diabetes-specific hospital admissions and emergency department (ED) visits (one or more visits versus no visits) in 493 people with type 2 diabetes who received regular dental care (≥ two prophylactic visits, periodontal treatment visits or both during a 12-month period) with measures in 493 people with type 2 diabetes who did not receive any dental care. The authors matched patients, all of whom had private medical and dental insurance benefits during the study period, with regard to age, sex and previous utilization of ED visits and hospital admissions, and they followed them for three years.
The authors analyzed the data by using multiple logistic regression, which showed that receipt of regular dental care was associated with lower diabetes-specific ED utilization (odds ratio [OR] = 0.61, 95 percent confidence interval [CI] = 0.40-0.92) and hospital admissions (OR = 0.61, 95 percent CI, 0.39-0.95) after they adjusted for age, sex, previous hospital admissions, previous ED utilization, race, baseline HbA(1c) values, Charlson comorbidity index score, body mass index status, periodontal risk status and primary care utilization. The authors found no significant association between receipt of dental care and control of HbA(1c) levels.
The study results show an association between regular receipt of dental care and reduced diabetes-specific medical care utilization (that is, ED visits and hospital admissions).
Although the results of this study could not show causality, they suggest that receipt of dental care may reduce diabetes-specific health care utilization. Prospective studies are needed to better understand the relationship of receipt of dental care with diabetes control and health care utilization measures.
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ABSTRACT: Racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities regarding untreated oral disease exist for older adults, and poor oral health diminishes quality of life. The ElderSmile program integrated screening for diabetes and hypertension into its community-based oral health activities at senior centers in northern Manhattan. The program found a willingness among minority seniors (aged ≥ 50 years) to be screened for primary care sensitive conditions by dental professionals and a high level of unrecognized disease (7.8% and 24.6% of ElderSmile participants had positive screening results for previously undiagnosed diabetes and hypertension, respectively). Dental professionals may screen for primary care-sensitive conditions and refer patients to health care providers for definitive diagnosis and treatment. The ElderSmile program is a replicable model for community-based oral and general health screening. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print April 18, 2013: e1-e4. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301259).American Journal of Public Health 04/2013; · 3.93 Impact Factor