Oral Health and Diabetes Link

New Study: Declining Dental Visits of Diabetics

A very large study involving 2.5 million people is saying that diabetic adults are less likely to go to the dentist than people with prediabetes or who don’t have diabetes. This is quite alarming considering that, for people living with diabetes, regular dental check-ups – paired with proactive dental and diabetes self-care – are important for maintaining good oral health.
Researchers at New York University’s College of Nursing and East Carolina University’s School of Medicine found that people with diabetes were the least likely to obtain oral healthcare.

An annual phone survey examined the 2004-2014 data collected of U.S. adults 21 and older, thus, 248,203 people with diabetes, 30,520 with prediabetes, and more than 2.2 million people without diabetes. The percentage of annual dental visits declined from 66.1 to 61.4% among diabetics, from 66 to 64.9% among pre-diabetics, and from 71.9 to 66.5% among people without diabetes. Blacks and Hispanics were less likely to visit the dentist than were white people during the entire decade. Single people and men were also less likely to visit the dentist than women and married people.

The findings are cause for concern. Those who need dental care are the ones to be the least likely to have it. Regular dental visits are highly recommended to potentially help with blood glucose control and preventing complications from diabetes. Are diabetics not aware of links between diabetes and oral health care? The study didn’t break down those with dental insurance, but affordability played a role in the number of dental visits for many.

The researchers say that providers and professionals should promote oral health among diabetics and encourage them to have dental visits at least annually. Increasing access to dental services is vital to achieving this goal.

These findings have been published in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

Understanding the Link in Lynnwood

Regular dental visits are opportunities for prevention, early detection, and treatment of periodontal disease. Lynnwood dentistry disseminates ample information on the association of oral health and diabetes. We have our fair share of this special population and we see to it that proper co-management is working for the benefit of our patients, here in Lynnwood.