Uncontrolled diabetes can manifest in the mouth through conditions such as dry mouth, impaired or delayed wound healing, increased severity of infections and periodontitis, according to the American Dental Association.
With an increasing obesity rate, oral conditions related to diabetes have become a growing concern.
Seven U.S. states reported obesity in 2017 among 35 percent or more of their adult populations, according to data the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released in September.
The states include Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia.
The number is up from five states in 2016, while in 2012, no state reported obesity rates of 35 percent or higher, according to the CDC.
Adults with obesity are at an increased risk for a number of health conditions, including some, such as diabetes, that can affect oral health.
Obesity is often caused by a combination of causes and factors, according to the CDC, including genetics and diet, physical inactivity and medication use, among others.
The American Dental Association works with lawmakers, public health leaders and others to encourage consumers to maintain balanced and nutritious diets that contribute to sound oral health. The ADA’s consumer website, MouthHealthy.org, offers a number of articles related to nutrition and weight management.
Dentists can play a role in helping patients understand nutrition and weight management. Researchers for an article in a 2014 issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association found increased obesity rates in U.S. counties with fewer dentists per capita.
The ADA encourages dentists to regularly counsel patients about the oral health benefits of maintaining a well-balanced diet and limiting the number of between-meal snacks.
For more information about the CDC report on obesity, visit CDC.gov/obesity.
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