What is the societal economic cost of poor oral health among older adults in the United States? A scoping review

Shulamite S. Huang, Analia Veitz-Keenan, Richard McGowan, Richard Niederman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To assess the state of the literature in the United States quantifying the societal economic cost of poor oral health among older adults. Background: Proponents of a Medicare dental benefit have argued that addressing the growing need for dental care among the US older adult population will decrease costs from systemic disease and other economic costs due to oral disease. However, it is unclear what the current economic burden of poor oral health among older adults is in the United States. Methods: We conducted a scoping review examining the cost of poor oral health among older adults and identified cost components that were included in relevant studies. Results: Other than oral cancer, no studies were found examining the economic costs of poor oral health among older adults (untreated tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss and chronic disease/s). Only two studies examining the costs of oral cancer were found, but these studies did not assess the full economic cost of oral cancer from patient, insurer and societal perspectives. Conclusions: Future work is needed to assess the full economic burden of poor oral health among older adults in the United States, and should leverage novel linkages between medical claims data, dental claims data and oral health outcomes data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-258
Number of pages7
JournalGerodontology
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • economics
  • older adults
  • oral health
  • review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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