Diabetes and Dental Care: Tooth Loss is More Common Than You Think

Among complications like heart disease, blindness or chronic skin infections, tooth loss may also be a more significant problem for diabetics than previously thought, according to new research.

Studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes who have periodontal disease are more likely to develop worsened glycemic control, said George W. Taylor, from the Schools of Dentistry and Public Health at the University of Michigan.

Worsening glycemic control, in turn, can lead to systemic inflammation and infection that may bring about tooth loss in adults.

Greater tooth loss associated with diabetes

The current study analyzed trends in diabetes and periodontal disease over 40 years based on data collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. A total of 37, 609 individuals were included in the study, which found that the rate of tooth loss increased with age. People with diabetes, too, were the most likely to suffer tooth loss.

The rate of tooth loss was the highest among non-hispanic blacks with diabetes, the study found, while all ethnic groups experienced greater tooth loss after the age of 60.

To avoid early tooth loss, experts recommend brushing teeth twice daily and flossing daily. Avoiding smoking and sugary foods may also help prevent periodontal disease.

"Given the study’s results, there is a need to improve dental hygiene and increase awareness of the risk among patients with diabetes," a news release on the study stated.

Source: Diabetes in Control

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