Dr. Chuck and Suzanne Lynn share the results of a recent study by the United Concordia Dental insurance company that shows how patients who take care of their teeth save thousands of dollars in annual medical costs and see a significant reduction in annual hospitalizations versus those who do not.
Here is a link to the study.
Dr.Chuck – Hi, I’m Dr. Chuck, welcome to Your Filthy Mouth. The dollars and sense of medical care. Insurance companies want you to stay healthy. Does anybody else? Stay tuned.
Narrator – Your smile is beautiful and possibly deadly. Dr. Chuck is here to tell you how your mouth can hold the key to your overall health. Now, about that filthy mouth of yours.
Suzanne – Hi, welcome to Your Filthy Mouth. I’m Suzanne Lynn with Dr. Chuck. And, Dr. Chuck, your intro really has my mind going here. First of all, why wouldn’t anybody want you to be healthy?
Dr.Chuck – There’s a television commercial on right now from, I think Allstate has it. And there’s a gentleman sitting on a chair in the middle of the road and he says, “The facts are, all auto insurance companies “want you to drive safely, they don’t want accidents.” Well, why is that? The more premiums you pay and the less claims they have to pay, the more money they’re gonna make.
Suzanne – Okay.
Dr.Chuck – Makes good sense. Is the same thing true with medical insurance companies? Absolutely, medical insurance companies want you to stay healthy. In fact, one of the things we’ll be looking at today, this is from United Concordia Dental, the white paper’s called “The Mouth: The Missing Piece “to Overall Wellness and Lower Medical Costs.”
Suzanne – Okay.
Dr.Chuck – So do medical insurance wants you to be healthy? Absolutely, again, they’ll make more money.
Suzanne – Well, you can’t get money, you can’t get premiums from dead people, right?
Dr.Chuck – Well, yeah, and you’re gonna pay a lot less, you’re gonna make a lot less money as an insurance company if you’re paying out a lot of claims.
Suzanne – I got you.
Dr.Chuck – So the healthier you are, the more money they’re gonna save because you’re staying out of the hospital.
Suzanne – Okay, that leads me to the question of who wouldn’t want you to be healthy, then?
Dr.Chuck – Well, let’s see, who stands to make money if you stay unhealthy? And I know this is almost cynical on this thing. But when we start looking at it, do hospitals want you to be healthy? I think good hospitals want you to be healthy. I think caring doctors, we have a lot of caring doctors out there, we have caring hospitals, they want you to be healthy. And then we have others might have another motive on that. And when you think about it, our last episode that we talked about, why don’t hospitals have dentists? Because according to this study, there’s an awful lot of illness in the body that is caused from problems in the mouth. And these are problems that we can do something about. My thing is I can’t focus on things that we can’t do anything about. I don’t know how to do anything about pancreatic cancer. It’s horrible. 50,000 people a year die from pancreatic cancer. About 600,000 people a year die from heart attacks. And, according to the researchers, about 50% of those are caused by oral infections, we can do something about oral infections. And there’s something that the patient can do, there’s something the physician can do, and there’s something the dentist can do to really decrease oral infections in our population.
Suzanne – So when you mentioned the hospital, unlike insurance, we’re not paying premiums to the hospital, they’re getting paid upon seeing people, fixing people, caring people, you know?
Dr.Chuck – Well, that’s how they make money, you know? And they get their money mostly from the insurance companies, some from private pay, but the majority of hospital payments come from insurance companies. If you look at, this is again from United Concordia, the link with coronary artery disease. And by the way, this information is on the website, we’ve got a PDF that you can download, you can look, we got links, so you can look at all of it yourself and go over with a fine tooth comb, see what they have to say. But with coronary artery disease, if you will take care of your dental situation, they show that your medical situation, your annual medical costs, go down a little over $1,000. But your hospital admissions go down 28.6%.
Suzanne – Wow, that’s incredible!
Dr.Chuck – That’s a lot. Just by having a healthy mouth. Now that’s with coronary artery disease.
Suzanne – So we could kind of do, when we call this dollar and sense, it doesn’t have to be S-E-N-S-E, it’s also C.
Dr.Chuck – C-E-N-T-S, yes, Big cents.
Suzanne – Yeah.
Dr.Chuck – So cerebral vascular disease, if you take care of your dental needs, your medical needs go down $5,681 and your hospital admissions go down 21.2%
Suzanne – Wow!
Dr.Chuck – This was on my research. They’ve got, the nice thing about these hospital, these insurance companies is you’ve got hundreds of thousands of dental insured, you have hundreds of thousands of medical insured. You can compare the two and you can see if these take care of their dental needs, what happens to their medical needs? And that’s what this paper has to show.
Suzanne – And right now, so far the stats you’ve shared is one out of four can not be going to the hospital.
Dr.Chuck – Not be going to the hospital, that’s right. Diabetes, we have a diabetic challenge in our country right now and it’s only getting worse. If we look at diabetes, if you take care of your dental situation, your annual medical expenses go down about $2,800. But the hospital admissions go down 39.4%. That’s huge.
Suzanne – Yeah, I mean, they truly they have no reason to skew these numbers. I mean, this truly is. They are comparing the medical front with the insurance.
Dr.Chuck – They want you to be healthy. Again, realize the insurance company wants you to be healthy. And also on, if I can turn the page here, the outpatient drug costs for diabetic patients goes down to about $1,477. Again, so your outpatient costs decreased by taking care of your oral situation. Pregnant women, oh my gosh, your annual medical costs with a healthy mouth go down $2,433 on average.
Suzanne – Wow!
Dr.Chuck – So we looked– That’s a lot of diapers. and a lot of baby care that you can buy with that.
Suzanne – It’s an awful lot.
Dr.Chuck – It is.
Suzanne – So again, the insurance company has the motivation to keep you well, to keep you healthy. Just like the auto insurance, they have motivation for you not to be in an accident, they want you not to be in an accident, medical insurance companies want you not to get sick. I don’t understand why more physicians aren’t pushing oral health with their patients. Now, there are some excellent physicians that really do this but they’re hard to find.
Dr.Chuck – Right, right, right. And that’s the whole purpose we’re doing this is to try to connect the dots between oral care and the rest of your body. I’m having a hard time going back to the fact because in hospitals, there are doctors don’t they take an oath to?
Dr.Chuck – Part of the Hippocratic Oath actually says if they come across something that they don’t know how to treat, they will seek the advice of someone who does know how to treat it. Well, if you’re not even looking for it, how do you know what’s going on? So this is why so many dental infections have absolute, I had a new patient this week. Nice guy, we did an oral exam on him, four abscesses four dental abscess going on inside of his jaw. Not one bit of pain from any of ’em, we’re showing them on the X-ray, you can see exactly what’s going, he has no idea these are going on. Now had we not done the examination, he would not know that they’re going on. But remember, and it’s not rocket science, every infection in your body, I don’t care if it’s in your hand, foot or your mouth, every infection produces pus. And that pus is being dumped right into your bloodstream, goes through, makes its way to the heart, to the lungs, back to the heart, and is pumped everywhere in your whole body. Is that healthy? I mean, again, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that’s not okay.
Suzanne – Right, a simple dentist in a hospital, is what you’re saying?
Dr.Chuck – Yeah, it’s–
Dr.Chuck – I mean, an oral department would be ideal. But could we just please get a dentist in there until?
Dr.Chuck – Well, at least diagnose that there’s an oral issue there, it could be gum disease, it could be dental infections, it could be an airway issue, it could be the bite, there are different things that can cause different problems within the the body. The hospital doesn’t have to be the one to fix it. But it would be nice if they would at least inform the patient, “Hey, you’ve got periodontal disease. “There’s a real good chance that that has “something to do with your cardiovascular disease. “Why don’t you go back to your dentist “and get that taken care of?” And that’s just not being done yet. Yet, they say that it takes 20 years, we’ve mentioned this before, 20 years before something that’s actually proven to be true with medical research, before it’s implemented into everyday care. Well, it was 19 years ago that the US Surgeon General wrote a large report on oral health in America that basically says you cannot have a healthy body with an unhealthy mouth, you need a healthy mouth. I’m looking forward to 2020 ’cause that’ll be 20 years. So we just got a few more months until this is gonna be widespread, maybe.
Suzanne – Well, one of the ways that’s gonna help is people who are watching Your Filthy Mouth, sharing that with your dentist, having them speak up and not be afraid.
Dr.Chuck – Yeah, this is not about us. This is this is about you. This is about your family. When one person has a stroke, it doesn’t affect just that one person, it affects their entire family.
Suzanne – Amen.
Dr.Chuck – When one person has a heart attack, it doesn’t affect just that one person, it affects their entire family. So we when we look at the 300,000 people that have deaths that could have been caused from oral infections, how many million people have that really affected in a negative way?
Suzanne – Right, right. All right, well, we’re gonna come back with a question of the week and Joe’s got a good one. Hang on.
Narrator – Here’s Dr. Chuck’s Question of the week.
Joe – This is Joe. I wanna know if there’s a problem with using mouthwash several times a day?
Suzanne – That is a good question. First of all, Joe, we’re gonna be sending you one of the Your Filthy Mouth mugs. I have to say that slow because it comes out your filthy mug mouth, if I say it too fast, but thank you for your question. Yeah, if you send your question in and we use it, you will get one also. But the question, just asked me about multiple times using mouthwash tells me that he’s maybe trying to cover something up, maybe he has bad breath. But is there a harm in that?
Dr.Chuck – A lot of times that’s what’s going on. Most bad breath is caused from periodontal disease, gum disease, and so if you can clean up the gum disease, the bad breath goes away. But a lot of people have the idea that if we use the right mouthwash or mouth rinse, I’m not gonna have any more cavities and my gums are gonna be better. And that’s just really not true. You’ve got to get in there and you’ve got to clean your teeth, you’ve got to just spend that five to seven minutes, at least one time a day doing a proper job getting the bacteria off of your teeth, the mouth rinse isn’t gonna take care of that. Now, they’ve shown that about 26% of the bacteria in your mouth are on your teeth and the rest of the bacteria on your tongue and your gums, all around there. So, you know, yes, do mouth rinses help? Yeah, but you can’t rely on them to kill all of the bad bacteria. You have to still get in there and remove the bacteria off your teeth.
Suzanne – Despite what the TV ads show, that that’s the magic cure.
Dr.Chuck – Well, I don’t think there’s a magic bullet when it comes to oral health care. Yeah, other than doing the right things, eating less sugar, boy, that’s a big thing, and less carbohydrates. I mean, the bacteria can utilize the sugar, turn it into acid, utilize the carbohydrates, turn it into acid, and this acid gets into the teeth, it demineralizes the tooth, causes cavities, affects the gums. So, yeah, our diet, four things we need to be healthy. Number one is what we eat.
Suzanne – Okay.
Dr.Chuck – Okay, that does play a role. Number two, little bit of exercise. Doesn’t mean you have to pump iron, but you gotta get that body moving. Number three, a healthy mouth. That doesn’t mean a Hollywood smile. You don’t need a Hollywood smile to have a healthy mouth. But you need a healthy mouth and have a healthy heart. Okay, and the last thing is your attitude. Attitude does play a big role in our overall health. So those are four things. And by the way, all four are affordable.
Suzanne – And we have control over ’em.
Dr.Chuck – Absolutely.
Suzanne – All right, Joe, good question. All right, well, let’s go back to talking about the topic today, is about dollars and sense of good oral health care. And before we started filming you shared a sample of, ’cause I can’t understand the idea of people not wanting to do the very best for someone that’s possible. You know, we’re talking about maybe in the hospitals if they can’t cure it or they can’t fix it, they don’t want to diagnose it or something like that.
Dr.Chuck – Well, there a lot of examples in history where someone has come up with a real good idea and that idea has been squashed simply because finances, money. If you think back, there was an automobile, I think was called the Tucker, back in the ’50s, that it had a lot of advances. It had headlights that turned when you turned the wheel. It had–
Suzanne – Genius!
Dr.Chuck – But yeah, special. Well, that that automobile was eaten up by the big three, by Ford, GM, and Chrysler. And so we look at some other things, if you wanna look at when you get in, you know, a little bit out on a limb here, we’ll talk about Tesla. And he had all kinds of information on how we could have electricity for everybody for free. And soon after his death, all of his papers disappeared. And so you know, there’s a lot of things, you know, what’s the real motivation? So it doesn’t matter what someone else’s motivation is as long as your motivation is proper. And if you can be motivated to take care of your mouth and keep it good and healthy, oh, my gosh, the problems that you can avoid. There are other issues. The mouth isn’t the only thing, you know, and I’m not the expert. We are the messenger. And that’s the message we’re trying to get across to you.
Suzanne – So the overall message of today’s show is there is a huge facts, like you said, we can show this on yourfilthymouth.com, to download this white paper, correlation between taking care of your mouth and saving a lot of money. Not just a little bit.
Dr.Chuck – A lot, yeah. The insurance company wants you to be healthy. They really do.
Suzanne – That’s good to know.
Dr.Chuck – Yeah, they may have an ulterior motive other than your health, they make more money, and that’s okay. But at least they want you to be healthy. And we have to make sure what is the motivation of all of our health care providers? Do they wanna treat the symptoms? Do they want to get to the source? And that’s the question between every health care provider and their patients.
Suzanne – Awesome, Dr. Chuck, thank you so much, great show today, thank you.
Dr.Chuck – Oh, thank you.
Narrator – This has been Your Filthy Mouth, a weekly podcast about how what happens in your mouth affects the rest of your body. This is important information, so please share it with your friends. Don’t forget to hit the subscribe button on YouTube, iTunes, and all the other podcast sites. And drop by yourfilthymouth.com to ask Dr. Chuck a question or find dozens of links to information about oral systemic health. We’ll talk to you next week.