Patient-centered oral health program pays off

by | Nov 7, 2023 | Health through Oral Wellness (HOW) | 0 comments

Delta Dental Plans Association ( DDPA) recently unveiled its 2022 Preventive Dental Care Study, the largest and longest running study of its kind, now in its 13th year. Surveying over 2,000 patients, the study assesses whether insureds are receiving recommended preventive dental care. Because of its depth and breadth, it can serve as a potential window into the oral health habits of the overall population.

DDPA’s study included a breakdown of oral health care measures by company and Northeast Delta Dental surpassed the national average of our 38-member company network in almost all areas including:

  • The percentage of members ages 1-20 who received two or more fluoride treatments: National average of 19.31% vs. Northeast Delta Dental at 31.64%
  • The percentage of members under age ten with at least one sealant on the first molar: National average of 47.64% vs. Northeast Delta Dental at 61.05%

The high marks can be attributed in large part to our Health through Oral Wellness (HOW®) program. We created the patient-centered oral health program to promote good oral and overall health for all Northeast Delta Dental members.

Here is how the program works: After a simple and quick assessment conducted at a member’s dental office, qualifying at-risk patients can receive additional benefits, including:

As the oral health leader, Delta Dental continues to expand upon the numerous efforts implemented to improve the oral and overall health of our communities and I’m proud to see that Northeast Delta Dental is exceeding these impressive averages, with the help of our HOW® program. Because of these results, other states have adopted the program.

National results show dental office visits rebounding to pre-COVID-19 levels

Five important national insights uncovered by the study include:

  • Oral evaluations and preventive services have, largely, rebounded to pre-COVID-19 levels.
  • Results show that fluoride treatments and sealants have greater utilization among pre-teens compared to older teenagers, which is expected with sealants but not expected with fluoride treatments.
  • Dental caries is the most common chronic preventable disease in children in the U.S. and worldwide, and the data continues to show most children ages 1-18, who are at risk for dental caries, are not receiving recommended fluoride and sealant treatments.
  • Some positive news in the report is a slow but steady decline in the percentage of adults aged 30+ who are at higher risk for caries.
  • The numbers are low of kids 1-20 who received a documented caries risk assessment, as anticipated; however, there are a few states that are performing at a significantly higher level than their peers, and two possibilities are that it may be correlated to state Medicaid programs that require assessments as well as the HOW® program.

For more information on the HOW® program, I encourage you to visit the Health through Oral Wellness® website.

Tom Raffio
November 2023

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