With the rising cost of healthcare, do not overlook a simple and cost-effective way to improve preventive care, early dedication, and overall workforce wellness measures: vision and dental exams.  The group wellness and health plan cost-containment impact of vision and dental exams can be substantial.


Here are three ways vision and dental coverage and education reduce healthcare costs:


1)  Early Detection of Potentially Chronic Health Conditions

An eye exam can uncover early signs of diabetes, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, high cholesterol, Myasthenia Gravis, thyroid disease, and many other diseases.  Similarly, a general systemic health assessment is performed during a dental exam and many diseases have early manifestations in the oral tissues.  Diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, blood disorders, some cancers, many infectious diseases, and gastric-intestinal disorders all show early signs in the mouth.


2)  Assessment of Medication Reactions and Interactions

Some medications can affect vision and eye health.  They can even interfere with the eye drops the doctor might use during the exam.  Certain eye drops should not be used if the patient has asthma, heart problems, or other conditions.  Many prescription and non-prescription drugs have a drying effect on the mouth. Mouth dryness (xerostomia) is directly correlated with increased tooth decay and gum disease.  Dentists can help assess the oral effects of the drugs and make recommendations for alternative medications or measures to counteract the harmful effects of necessary medications.


3) Women’s Health – Pregnancy and Osteoporosis Risk

Clinical evidence shows that poor dental health during pregnancy can adversely affect the health of the newborn.  Oral bacteria, inflammation, and hormonal changes are a powerful combination that can breach the placenta and reach the fetus. Women with uncontrolled gum disease have a higher rate of pre-term labor.  Additionally, both osteoporosis and gum disease share several risk factors.  Accelerated bone loss around teeth may be due to systemic factors associated with osteoporosis.  Many drugs used to treat osteoporosis can lead to jawbone degeneration if dental infections or broken teeth are present.


Including vision and dental plan options, whether employer paid or voluntary, and encouraging employee participation through education and communication, improves the overall wellness of the group and reduces healthcare costs.  Regular vision and dental examinations can illuminate signs that an individual is predisposed to certain conditions.  Exams can also determine the impact that certain medications and lifestyle currently have on overall health and/or will have in the future.  Health monitoring and maintenance is far less expense than allowing treatable ailments to go undetected without simple and inexpensive vision and dental exams.


The best next step for individuals and organizations is to consult with a advisor and start the conversation to determine the best strategy that uniquely meets their needs.



DISCLAIMER: This update is general in nature.  The information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice, financial advice and/or the advice of a licensed insurance or certified human resource professional.

© SandStone Insurance Partners 2022


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