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Improving heart health through oral health

Moda Health and Delta Dental understand the connection between oral health and heart health. This partnership goes back more than 60 years, when Moda Health (then ODS) began offering dental plans to families suffering from oral health pain. As part of Moda, Inc.’s family of companies, Moda Health and Delta Dental work together to offer health plans that include both medical and dental benefits to help members improve their overall health.

Coming from the dental industry, Delta Dental’s supervisor of Dental Provider Relations, Jamie Gooch, knows how important it is to bring these two worlds together.

“One of the great things is we have our hands in so many different things,” she said. “It’s great we have both dental and medical in one house. We’re very fortunate amongst insurance companies to have that advantage.”

Along with embedding dental benefits in our medical plans, we offer several programs that show how improving oral health impacts overall health. For example, Jamie said when a tooth abscess goes untreated, it can weaken your immune system and lower your ability to fight infections.

“There are definitely connections between serious risks with your oral health and how they correlate with your whole body,” she said. “For people with heart issues and other health conditions, if bacteria from your mouth gets in your bloodstream, it can contribute to clogged arteries and cause larger health issues.”

The dental-heart connection
Delta Dental offers programs like Health through Oral Wellness® and Oral Health, Total Health. These programs focus on helping members with a greater risk of periodontal disease and other physical conditions get the oral care they need to improve their heart health. Jamie’s dental provider relations team and ODS Community Dental, the Dental Medicaid line of business, continually reach out to educate and support providers and members about the dental-heart connection.

Throughout her career, Jamie has seen firsthand why it’s important to bring these worlds together. As a former front-office treatment coordinator for an orthodontist, she watched the practice struggle trying to manage both administration and patient care, and how it affected their patients’ health. She said these experiences have paid off for her current role.

“Looking back, it was a very educational time for me,” she said. “I learned a lot about the dental industry. I have a different perspective now having seen it from both sides. I have the ability to help providers navigate how to use us to strengthen their business, and in doing so, provide better care for their patients.”

Healthy partnerships
When it comes to helping members improve their overall health, Jamie said it all comes down to partnerships. Each day, her team gives its provider partners access to the resources and support they need to work more efficiently and provide better care.

“It’s sort of like a tango,” she said. “Building a stronger practice requires building stronger partnerships. We’re here to provide them with the tools to navigate the system and be successful. Without their success, we won’t be successful.”

Today, studies show that people with advanced gum disease are 25 to 50 percent more likely to have heart disease. Moda Health and Delta Dental know this. And we’re doing something about it.

Moda Health Months: Our personal health stories Read more personal health stories on our Moda Health Community page.

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We have exciting news to share. ODS is changing its name to Moda Health.

Moda comes from the latin term "modus" and means "a way". We picked it because that's what we are here to do: help our communities find a way to better health.

Together, we can be more, be better.

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