Tooth Loss Doubles with Diabetes

Death and taxes may be the inevitable pair, but there’s another pair of negatives that unfortunately go together: diabetes and tooth loss. New data published by the Centers for Disease Control confirms that the 28.9 million Americans over age 20 with diabetes have about twice as much risk of losing their teeth as those without diabetes.

Measuring blood sugar

The Survey

This study looked at nine waves of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) during the years of 1971-2012. A total of 37,609 individuals age 25 years or older had dental exams for the NHANES. There were a number of variables for this study such as age, sex, race, education, and poverty level. They found that tooth loss increased with age (which is not too surprising), and that trends in tooth loss for adults with and without diabetes were similar for non-Hispanic whites, African Americans, and Hispanic Americans. However African-Americans with diabetes were likely to lose about four times as many teeth as either whites or Mexican-Americans with diabetes, increasing concerns about racial disparities in dental care.

The study showed that diabetes is a serious risk factor for tooth loss across the board for adults aged 25 and older, and “on average, adults with diabetes lost approximately twice the number of teeth as adults without diabetes, ranging from 1.7 in 1971–1975 to 2.1 times in 2011–2012.”

What Can Be Done

There are a number of habits that can increase your risk of both diabetes and periodontal disease. Smoking (even being exposed to secondhand smoke) increases your risk of diabetes and gum disease, and can lead to periodontal disease if left untreated. Gum disease itself can lead to diabetes because the condition makes it harder for your body to regulate blood sugar levels.

If you find that you have lost your teeth to diabetes-related causes, then you will want to replace them as soon as possible. Lacking teeth can cause your jaw to further deteriorate. Dental implants are a great replacement for missing teeth and less of a hassle than dentures. People with diabetes can still be good candidates for dental implants.

One of the best ways to stay healthy is to practice good oral hygiene, and that includes making regular trips to the dentist. If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment please give Park Meadows Dental Care in Centennial a call at (303) 759-5652.