It is somewhat common knowledge that long term diabetes sufferers can run the risk of losing a limb—particularly the legs—due to poor circulation. Well, it turns out that Type 2 diabetes patients can also be at risk for losing teeth. According to Duke University researcher Bei Wu, new data indicates that diabetics are, in fact, twice as likely to lose teeth as those who do not have diabetes.
The study actually points to gum disease as the culprit. Wu explains that those with type 2 diabetes seem to have gum disease to a higher degree than those who do not suffer from diabetes and, of course, tooth loss is the penultimate consequence of this.
Quick fact: gum disease affects roughly fifty percent of the adult population in the United States.
Furthermore, the study also points out that Africa-Americans have an even higher risk for tooth loss due to diabetes than other races, as described by the study authors.
The study examined data from roughly 37,000 people using information which had been compiled by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study, looking at data between 1971 and 2012.
While the study did indicate, too, that tooth loss has been on the decline over the years of the study period, the researchers still concluded that those with diabetes suffered tooth loss at a higher rate.
As such, the American Diabetes Association has taken to issuing new guidelines to inform physicians of this risk and refer diabetic patients to a dental specialist.
Unfortunately, either not many physicians do this or patients do not heed the advice as it turns out not many diabetic patients seek the assistance of a dental professional who could, in fact, help them to prevent enumerable oral conditions including, of course, tooth loss.