Consequences include increased healthcare costs, impacts on education, workforce productivity, and economic disparities.
Atlanta, GA, January 16, 2024 — Benevis, a leading dental healthcare and orthodontics delivery organization committed to providing quality care to underserved communities, announces the release of its Price of Poor Oral Health white paper to shed light on the profound economic consequences and escalating costs associated with inadequate access to regular dental care in the United States.
In a March 2023 statement to the U.S. Senate, Marko Vujicic, chief economist and vice president of the Health Policy Institute at the American Dental Association, detailed the costly consequences of inadequate access to dental homes. He shared in the official announcement that “every 15 seconds in America, someone shows up at a hospital emergency department because of a dental issue. The estimated 2.1 million emergency department visits for dental conditions cost the U.S. healthcare system $2.7 billion each year, with Medicaid accounting for the largest share of this spending. This is an example of inefficient spending that could be avoided if more Americans had access to a dental home for routine care and prevention.”
The Benevis white paper explores the ripple effect of poor oral health, extending beyond the healthcare system to impact education, workforce productivity, and economic disparities. It emphasizes the need for affordable dental coverage, highlighting that an estimated 67 million Americans—nearly a quarter of the population—lack dental insurance. That is more than double the estimated 26 million Americans without health insurance, according to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) 2021 report.
“As an industry, we recognize that preventive care is critical to curbing the long-term consequences – economically and physically – of neglected oral health. Enhancing the accessibility of exceptional healthcare begins with providing continuous dental health insurance to diverse patient populations,” said Bryan Carey, CEO of Benevis. “Benevis is among just 18% of dentists in the U.S. that treat 100 or more kids covered by Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) each year. It is critical to expand access for these patients.”
The paper reveals staggering statistics, including the financial strain of health disparities, with a cost of $451 billion in 2018, up 41% from $320 billion in 2014. It emphasizes the need to address social determinants of health (SDOH) and risk factors linked to oral health, particularly in children, where approximately half do not receive regular dental care.
Cost, distance, and availability of services limit access to dental care, with 92% of adults considering delaying dental care due to costs. The consequences of poor oral health extend to significant healthcare costs, indirect costs, and emotional tolls. Dental costs are up 30% per person over the last 20 years, making accessible oral care out of reach for many Americans according to the NIH report on “Oral Health in America: Advances and Challenges.”
The white paper concludes with a case study demonstrating how Benevis practices in Louisiana realized lower costs of care per patient over three consecutive years through investment in earlier, regular preventive care. Download the case study here.
For over 20 years, Benevis has remained committed to breaking down the barriers to oral healthcare, expanding access to affordable care for disadvantaged communities. Benevis aims to bring attention to the pressing issue of poor oral health’s economic impact, advocating for high-quality, accessible dental care, comprehensive coverage, and a focus on preventive measures to alleviate the burden on both individuals and the healthcare system.
For more information, view the full Price of Poor Oral Health white paper here.
Benevis is a leading dental healthcare delivery organization for practices focused on delivering life-changing oral care and orthodontics to underserved communities. Through comprehensive care and operational services that expand access to dentistry, Benevis has a 20-year history of providing the highest quality care to approximately 5 million children and adults. Its network reaches more than 100 locally branded dental offices across the U.S. that deliver treatment through 1.2 million visits each year. Benevis also advocates for programs and legislation that ensure all families have access to the oral healthcare they need and deserve. For more information, visit Benevis.com.
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