Diabetes Linked to Tooth Loss

If you have diabetes, be sure to schedule regular visits with your dentist. Experts at Duke University have found that people who have diabetes tend to lose more teeth than those who don’t have diabetes.

Their findings also showed a bidirectional relationship: People with peridontal disease are more likely to have diabetes than those with healthy gums. The researchers reviewed data collected from more than 37,000 adults ages 25 and older who took part in a national survey between 1971 and 2012. They found that people with diabetes lost teeth at twice the rate of people without diabetes.

Race and ethnicity also played a role: Older black persons with diabetes were found to have the greatest amount of tooth loss when compared with whites and Mexican Americans. Researchers ascribe this disparity to socioeconomic and other factors that can impact access to proper dental care in the black population.

The researchers did not cite the reason for greater tooth loss among people with diabetes overall but emphasized that other chronic diseases, such as heart disease, lung disease and cognitive decline, are also associated with poor oral health.

They also referred to other study findings, which demonstrated that people with diabetes are less likely to brush and floss as often as people without diabetes and they’re more likely to skip a yearly dental visit.

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HealthAfter50 was published by the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, providing up-to-date, evidence-based research and expert advice on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a wide range of health conditions affecting adults in middle age and beyond. It was previously part of Remedy Health Media's network of digital and print publications, which also include HealthCentral; HIV/AIDS resources The Body and The Body Pro; the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter; and the Berkeley Wellness website. All content from HA50 merged into Healthcentral.com in 2018.