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A global approach to assess the economic benefits of increased consumption of sugar-free chewing gum
journal contributionposted on 2017-04-01, 00:00 authored by Reinhard Rychlik, Fabian Kreimendahl, Cornelia Blaich, Hanny CalacheHanny Calache, Franklin Garcia-Godoy, Elizabeth Kay, Yan Si, David Zilberman, Stefan Zimmer
PURPOSE: To analyze the influence of increasing the average consumption of sugar-free gum (SFG) in 25 industrialized countries on dental expenditures due to caries by the national health care systems. It was assumed that large cost savings were possible, because the regular consumption of SFG significantly reduces the relative risk of caries and therefore, improves dental health, which reduces expenditures on dental treatments. METHODS: A budget impact analysis (BIA) was performed to model the decrease in the relative risk of caries and the subsequent cost savings for dental care. Annual consumption of SFG, dental expenditures due to caries, chewing frequencies by age groups and the relative risk reduction for caries due to the consumption of SFG were identified and used as model parameters. Three different scenarios for the increase in the number of SFG were calculated. Besides overall results for all countries together, analyses were conducted for countries grouped by regions and the Human Development Index (HDI). RESULTS: For the entity of all 25 analyzed countries together, possible annual cost savings range from US$805.77 M in the scenario with the lowest increase of SFG consumption up to US$18,248 billion in the scenario with the biggest increase of SFG consumption. Europe and the USA show potential cost savings of US$1,061 billion and US$2,071 billion per year, respectively, if all chewers increase their consumption of SFG by 1 piece per day. The analysis showed the potential cost savings in dental expenditures due to caries that can be achieved by only slightly increasing the consumption of SFG. The regular consumption of SFG cannot replace good dental hygiene like tooth brushing, but can have a significant impact on dental health, which can lead to increased cost savings for health care systems worldwide. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Based on the fact that a regular consumption of sugar-free chewing gum has the beneficial effect of reducing caries prevalence, an increased consumption may not only lead to improved dental health but significant cost savings in expenditures for dental treatment worldwide.