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FYI - Partnering with you to create healthy smiles


Partnering with you to help create healthy smiles

The connection between a healthy mouth and a healthy heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for one in five deaths each year. Since February is American Heart Month, now is a great time to inform your patients about the possible link between dental health and heart disease, and learn what you can do to help them to minimize their risk.

Heart disease and dental health: the link 

Poor oral health, specifically periodontitis or gum disease, may contribute to poor heart health. In fact, people with gum disease have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack or other serious heart-related issues. While the reason for this link hasn’t been definitively proven, studies suggest the bacteria that cause gum disease can enter the bloodstream and lead to inflammation and infections in the heart.

Since as many as 47% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease — including more than 70% of adults 65 years and older — this is an issue that could affect many of your patients.

What your patients can do to lower their risk

For your patients, prevention is the key to reducing their risk of heart disease. Encourage patients to:

  • Visit for regular exams and cleanings
  • Update you on any current health conditions or changes in their health
  • Brush and floss regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins A and C
  • Avoid cigarettes and smokeless tobacco
  • Limit their alcohol intake

You can also encourage your patients to refer to Delta Dental’s wellness library. There they’ll find a comprehensive resource with articles, videos and more to help them improve their oral, heart and overall health.

Delta Dental’s wellness benefits can also help

If you have patients with heart disease, find out if they’re eligible for SmileWay® Wellness Benefits (known as SmileWay Enhanced Benefits in Texas). This benefit, which groups can choose to include with their Delta Dental PPO™ plans, covers additional services for patients with certain chronic health conditions, including heart disease. Services include:

  • 100% coverage each year for one scaling and root planing procedure per quadrant (D4341 or D4342)
  • 100% coverage each year for four of the following in any combination:
    • Prophylaxis (D1110 or D1120)
    • Periodontal maintenance procedure (D4910)
    • Scaling in the presence of moderate or severe gingival inflammation (D4346)

To qualify for SmileWay, your patient must be enrolled in a Delta Dental PPO plan from a group that offers the benefit. They must also have a qualifying condition and choose to opt into the benefit, which they can do online or by calling Customer Service.

To confirm your patient’s eligibility, review their benefits in Provider Tools and look for one of these two notations:

  • SW. The patient has enrolled in SmileWay Wellness Benefits
  • SW- P. The patient’s dental plan includes SmileWay Wellness Benefits, but they haven’t enrolled

If your patient hasn’t enrolled, you can share this link or a SmileWay Wellness Benefits flyer in  English or  Spanish.

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