Diabetes Associated with Tooth Loss

Diabates is capable of ravaging the body in many ways, and a study reveals that the disease may also lead to tooth loss.

The study comes from five Duke University researchers, who looked at more than 37,000 people who were examined by the National Health and Nutrition Survey from 1971 to 2012. To the researchers' knowledge, this is the first study to look at tooth loss tendencies for adult diabetics.

Adults with diabetes were found to have lower income and education and more tooth loss than people without diabetes. Diabetics lost approximately double the amount of teeth as adults without diabetes. African Americans were much more likely to lose teeth than any other demographic. However, the amount of tooth loss has declined significantly since 1971, going from 11.2 teeth to 6.6 for the group with diabetes.

The authors confess to some limitations on their research. Due to the nature of the data, there was no way of telling whether the tooth loss had begun prior to the onset of diabetes. Also, the only way the examinations showed diabetes is if the patient divulged the information, leading to questions of reliability. The authors stress regular dental care and dentist appointments for diabetics.

The ADA's consumer website Mouth Healthy offers information on diabetes and oral health, and can be found here: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/diabetes

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