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Study Finds Diabetics Need to Visit the Dentist More Often

  • July 13, 2018

Regular dental visits are important, and this is particularly true for diabetics. However, a recent study found that diabetics visit the dentist less often.

This is troubling, given the link between diabetes and oral health.

Research revealed that diabetics were the least likely to pursue oral healthcare. The study was conducted by New York University’s College of Nursing and East Carolina University’s School of Medicine, and published in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

Between 2004 and 2014, the proportion of annual dental visits dropped from 66.1 percent to 61.4 percent in the group of diabetics, and it dropped from 66 percent to 64.9 percent in the group of who had prediabetes, according to the JADA article.

This study looked at 248,203 people with diabetes and 30,520 with prediabetes, according to a UPI article.

Periodontal disease is common among diabetics, affecting nearly 22 percent of those diagnosed, according to the American Dental Association. The aging process and failure to properly control blood sugar increases the risk for gum problems.

The complications are a two-way street. Just as uncontrolled blood sugar can lead to gum complications, gum disease can lead to higher blood sugar. This makes diabetes more difficult to control because it leaves patients more susceptible to infections and less able to fight the bacteria invading the gums. Wounds in your mouth and elsewhere often take longer to heal.

Other oral health complications made worse when you have diabetes include feeling more thirsty than normal, which can cause you to have dry mouth and increase your risk for cavities. Untreated diabetes also can cause gum inflammation and bleeding.

About 29.1 million people in the United States have diabetes, and about 1.7 millions new cases are diagnosed annually, according to the American Dental Association.

LANAP Treatment

One of the most effective, least invasive treatments for gum disease is offered in our office in a single visit. LANAP, which stands for laser-assisted new attachment procedure, requires no cutting, no sutures, and it is virtually painless.

Our periodontists use the laser to target and remove the diseased tissue and avoid harming healthy tissue. The laser eliminates the harmful toxins that destroy gum tissue and bone, and then forms a clot to promote new attachment of the gum to a tooth’s root surfaces.

Getting your gum disease under control can help you better control your blood sugar levels and stave off infection.

Call our office today to learn more about this procedure and to be on your way toward improved oral health.