Did you know your dental health can give clues into what’s happening throughout your entire body? Numerous studies have found a correlation between oral health and health issues elsewhere. It turns out the health of the mouth has an effect on your risk for serious conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. That’s why it’s critical to understand this connection between overall health and the state of the gums, teeth and mouth. Researchers call this correlation “oral systemic health” to indicate how oral health affects (and can be affected by) the larger system. For example, people who suffer from diabetes and have gum disease have a more difficult time controlling their blood glucose level because the inflammatory factors found in diabetes are the same as in gum disease. It is also thought that people with uncontrolled diabetes might be more susceptible to gum disease in the future due to these inflammatory factors. Gum disease, or periodontitis, has also been linked with several other health conditions like heart disease and stroke. The news about oral systemic health is scary, especially because roughly 40 percent of Americans in the workforce have not visited a dentist in the past year. This is important to employers because the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services found employees with common risk factors, such as diabetes and heart disease, are more likely to be absent from work and cost 13 to 22 percent more for companies to insure. Obesity, a major cause of diabetes, costs companies $12 billion annually with higher medical claims, lower productivity rates and more. For all of these reasons, providing comprehensive wellness benefits that include dental care to employees is hugely important. It not only improves their oral health, but can lower the rates of other costly and serious health issues and could have a huge impact on the wellness of your workforce. For more information on dental and vision options for your employees, visit: http://www.bcbsm.com/employers/products-services/dental-and-vision-plans.html
About Dr. Gary Vance Dr. Vance has been a practicing dentist for more than 35 years and is currently a dental associate at a private practice in Plymouth, Mich. He graduated from the University of Detroit’s School of Dentistry and is a member of the American Dental Association, Michigan Dental Association, Detroit District Dental Society and the American Association of Dental Consultants. Dr. Vance has been a dental consultant for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for the past 15 years and is the newest blogger for A Healthier Michigan.