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New dental study helps move oral health in positive direction by supporting prevention of early childhood caries

March 25, 2015
A study in the new issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association seeks to align efforts to improve dental health with Triple Aim.

Experts agree that the so-called Triple Aim should guide future reforms in health care — achieving better individual care and population health while reducing per capita costs. Although tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood, efforts to improve dental health are not yet aligned with the Triple Aim. A study in the new issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association(JADA)could help move oral health in this direction by assessing both the impact and cost of nine approaches to preventing Early Childhood Caries (ECC).

To view the entire study click here.

The co-authors used New York State data to project both the costs and decay-reduction impact of certain strategies to prevent tooth decay in the ECC population (children ages 0-5). A 2012 study revealed that ECC-related visits to hospital emergency rooms or ambulatory care centers in New York State averaged 5,124 per year over a five-year period. In the final year of that time, the average cost per visit was $5,501.

Because low-income children are at higher risk for tooth decay, the co-authors assessed the impact and cost of prevention approaches for the Medicaid population. The co-authors used systemic dynamics modeling to project how each prevention strategy would change the extent of ECC and how much each strategy would cost (or save).

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