How? According to George Taylor, the lead researcher in the study:
"In periodontal disease, the body reacts to the bacteria causing the gum infection by producing proteins or chemicals called inflammatory mediators. Ulcers and open sores in the gums become passageways for these proteins and for the bacteria themselves to enter the body's blood circulation. These inflammatory mediators, as well as some parts of the bacteria, prevent the body from effectively removing glucose, or sugar, from the blood."Higher blood sugars lead to more diabetic complications, which lead to higher medical bills.
Dental cleanings can remove the lodged bacteria before they have a chance to cause gum infection or subsequent systemic problems.
Patients in the study who received 1 or 2 periodontal treatments a year could lower their monthly medical costs by an average of 11% - that's $55 off a $500 bill.