The Relationship Between Heart Health and Oral Health

Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Dr. Keith Libou, Chief Clinical Officer, Delta Dental of New Jersey and Connecticut, to discuss the relationship between heart health and oral health, ways in which dentists are trying to curb the opioid crisis and advancements in how dentists can screen for diabetes.

5/6/19 #2215






"The doctor's in the house. He's back. It was a different studio, but he's back with us right now. He's Doctor Keith Libou, Chief Clinical Officer, Delta Dental of New Jersey and Connecticut. Good to see you doctor. Steve thanks for having me back. It's good to have you... last time we talked all about oral health and a whole range of areas, but I want to jump right into this. Let's shift gears. By the way, Delta Dental one of the big supporters of the programming we do on oral health. You want to talk about the opioid crisis and how it's related to oral health. And I'm like, "Huh?" Break it down. Well Steve, when you look at the opioid crisis, and it's obviously a crisis, and it's affecting New Jersey in a very serious way, you have the illegal opioid crisis, illegal drugs, then you have the prescription aspect of it, and a lot of people believe that people that get involved with the illegal drugs, illegal opioids, start with prescription drugs. And doctors and dentists have done a great job over the last five years reducing the number of opioid prescriptions they write. You know by some accounts, it's down by maybe half, but we know there's still a very serious problem with opioid prescriptions. Some of the doctors who are out there are writing longer prescriptions for more pills. So we came up with two very innovative ways to approach this. The first thing we're doing is working with very large clients that have a very large footprint within the state. We've developed the ability to merge their pharmacy data with our dental data. How would that help? So you know the pharmacological history? You got the dental data? And what could you potentially find? Hypothetically? Let's lay it out. What could you see? What it lets us do, it lets us identify dentists who, by specialty, are prescribing against the recommended guidelines for opioids in terms of number of pills, number of refills, number of days... You're talking about over... potentially overprescribing? Well prescribing it against the FDA's regulations for opioids. And then what do you do when that happens? That's a great question. And that is the question. So what... Who's job is that to regulate that? Well the dentists are exposed to continuous... continuing education. And you know, and there's constantly a... an emphasis to get them to move away from opioids wherever possible. Is this... so is it about education doctor? So say a doctor is going, as you said, against the... Prescription recommendations. ...prescription protocol, what do you..."