Making the Most of Preventive Dental Services

Preventive dental services are used more than any other type of dental service and that’s a good thing because preventive dental care is incredibly important to managing overall employee health – and costs.

Why is preventive care so important? 1

  • Periodontal disease. Plaque on the teeth can get under the gums and produce enzymes that weaken the bones.
  • Tooth decay. Tooth decay can result in as little as a cavity and as big as a loss of a tooth.
  • Gum disease. Good oral health is key to helping manage certain conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Periodontal (gum) disease can affect the ability to control blood sugar and produces bacteria that can go through the bloodstream to the heart.
  • Employees with diabetes who treat their periodontal disease have 39% fewer hospital admissions and 40% lower medical costs2
  • Employees with coronary artery disease who treat their periodontal disease have 28% fewer hospital admissions and 10% lower medical costs2

64.7 Million Americans over age 30 suffer from gum disease

What’s the impact of poor dental care to the workplace?

  • More than $6 billion of productivity is lost each year because people miss work to get dental care3
  • 64.7 million Americans over the age of 30 suffer from periodontal disease4
  • Even something as simple as losing a tooth can lead to an annual earnings loss of $720 a year.5

Make it easy for your employees to get the dental care they need. Offer a plan that covers at least one annual routine cleaning and preventive oral care. Having a large network of preferred dentists in your plan also helps ensure employees seek regular dental care.

Encourage your employees to use their preventive benefits and find dental professionals they like in the plan you offer. It can save them money in the long run, and keep them getting the care they need.

Jason Kinzy is a marketing manager at Anthem, Inc. and is responsible for the promotion of Anthem’s specialty business (dental, vision, voluntary, life and disability plans) to members, employers and brokers. He has 20 years of health care marketing communications experience.

  2. American Journal of Preventive Medicine’s Impact of Periodontal Therapy on General Health Study, June 2014
  3. CDC Oral Health; last reviewed October 2016
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, Periodontitis Among Adults Aged ≥30 Years — United States, 2009–2010 (November 22, 2013):
  5. The National Bureau of Economic Research website, The Economic Value of Teeth (March 2008):


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