If you are living with diabetes, you likely have a lot of health concerns. From monitoring your blood sugar to issues with nerve damage and your eyesight, you've got a lot going on, but have you considered the impact the disease could have on your teeth? A recent study has actually shown that diabetes will double tooth loss in U.S. adults.
This study used trends from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1971 to 2012. While tooth loss as a whole decreased throughout this 40 year period, people with diabetes did see an increase in tooth loss. Black Americans living with diabetes also tended to lose more teeth than white or Mexican Americans with diabetes.
Researchers from Duke University interpreted these findings. They believe that the difference could be due to historical changes that blacks faced in regards to obtaining dental care because of a lack of dental knowledge and dental services. People with diabetes tend to have poorer dental hygiene-related behaviors and don't floss or brush as frequently as people without diabetes.
The findings of this study highlight the need for improved dental education among all people, especially people who are living with diabetes. Black Americans who experience the most tooth loss are in the most need of this education so that they can alter their oral hygiene behaviors in order to save their teeth.
If you have diabetes, it is also especially important that you are making regular appointments with your dentist. Your hygienist and dentist will be able to inspect your mouth for signs that the disease is causing problems and can recommend helpful tips to help you improve your oral health. Regular dental evaluations can also identify minor problems before they have the chance to become major issues that require extensive - and expensive - repairs.