Colgate, Aetna combine on dental health initiative

HARTFORD, Conn. Colgate-Palmolive has teamed up with Aetna to educate Aetna members about the association between oral health and systemic health, to promote preventive dental care and to provide education about using Colgate Total.

As part of the initiative, Aetna has made available to its members Colgate Total coupons and products, along with education materials on the association between oral health and overall health in its Aetna Navigator newsletter and member brochures. Colgate Total is the only toothpaste both approved by the FDA and accepted by the American Dental Association to reduce and help prevent the gum disease gingivitis.

Also, during October, Colgate toothbrushes and trial size toothpastes were made available for employer annual enrollment fairs. The partners are planning to offer continuing education to physicians and dentists on the association between dental conditions and medical conditions such as diabetes.

Research shows there is an association between serious gum disease and certain chronic conditions like stroke, diabetes and heart disease. Though research to improve the understanding and exact nature of this relationship is ongoing, much evidence suggests that the benefits of having a healthy mouth may be significant.

Aetna recently launched the Aetna Dental/Medical Integration program, consisting of educational outreach and enhanced benefits for pregnant women and its members who have certain chronic health conditions. The program is designed to encourage at-risk members to seek dental care, improve their oral health and, potentially, reduce overall medical costs. The program was developed after Aetna evaluated the results of a published research analysis conducted with Columbia University College of Dental Medicine on the value of integrating dental and health benefits.