Preventive Dental Treatment Lowers Healthcare Costs for Adults Covered by Medicaid, Per Research Conducted Under NADP Grant


DALLAS, Texas – Preventive dental care is associated with lower overall medical costs among Medicaid-covered adults with nine diseases and conditions, according to an analysis conducted by Columbia University on federal data collected in the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) via a grant from the National Association of Dental Plans (NADP).

Findings were reported at the annual meeting of the American Association of Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) in Portland, Oregon, on March 16. The analysis of MEPS data from 2014, 2015, and 2016 of select non-communicable disease diagnoses suggest that state Medicaid programs that include dental coverage and preventive dental care can reduce healthcare costs.

The following diseases and conditions were examined:

  1. coronary heart disease
  2. diabetes
  3. high blood pressure
  4. myocardial infarction
  5. stroke
  6. angina
  7. cancer
  8. high cholesterol
  9. asthma

In all three years, among those who reported any (one or more) of the nine diseases and conditions of interest, median Medicaid payments were higher among those who did not receive preventive dental care than among those who did (46% higher in 2014, 89% in 2015, 49% higher in 2016). One interpretation of these results is that preventive dental services have a beneficial effect on overall health, including the amelioration of existing conditions such as heart disease. This is consistent with findings from previous studies indicating that untreated dental disease is a causal and/or exacerbating factor in a wide range of medical conditions.

“NADP is happy to support research demonstrating the value of dental coverage and care as it relates to overall health, remarked NADP Executive Director Michael Adelberg. “NADP members strive to improve consumer access to affordable, quality dental care, especially to underserved populations and Medicaid patients.”

These findings offer new evidence that preventive dental care coverage and visits are associated with lower overall medical costs and provide additional support for expanding Medicaid dental benefits.

About NADP

National Association of Dental Plans (NADP), a Texas nonprofit corporation with headquarters in Dallas, Texas, is the representative and recognized resource of the dental benefits industry. NADP is a national trade organization that represents a broad spectrum of dental benefits companies operating in the United States. NADP’s members provide Dental HMO, Dental PPO, Dental Indemnity and Discount Dental products to more than 200 million Americans with dental benefits.



Michael Adelberg

NADP Executive Director

(972) 458-6998, x 101

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