Nav: Home

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health

April 02, 2018

Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

The study, published in The Journal of the American Dental Association, showed an overall decline in dental visits among adults with and without diabetes, but people with diabetes were consistently the least likely to obtain oral healthcare.

Research has shown a two-way relationship between diabetes and oral health. People with diabetes are at an increased risk for periodontal disease, a chronic inflammation of the gums and surrounding tissue and bone, while periodontal disease has an adverse effect on blood glucose control - which can contribute to the progression of diabetes. In fact, periodontal disease has been called the "sixth complication" of diabetes after issues like kidney disease, damage to the retina, and heart disease.

"For people living with diabetes, regular dental check-ups - paired with proactive dental and diabetes self-care - are important for maintaining good oral health. Regular dental visits provide opportunities for prevention, early detection, and treatment of periodontal disease, which can potentially help with blood glucose control and preventing complications from diabetes," said Bei Wu, PhD, Dean's Professor in Global Health and director of Global Health & Aging Research at NYU Meyers and the study's senior author.

Older studies have shown that individuals with diabetes had fewer dental visits than those without diabetes. In order to have an updated understanding of dental visits among people with diabetes, this study assessed the trends of annual dental visits from 2004 to 2014 in adults with diabetes, prediabetes, and without diabetes, and assessed racial and ethnic disparities in dental visits.

The researchers used data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual telephone survey of U.S. adults during which respondents are asked whether or not they had a dental visit in the past 12 months and whether they were ever diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes. The study sample included 2.5 million adults age 21 years and older, including 248,203 people with diabetes, 30,520 with prediabetes, and 2,221,534 without diabetes.

The researchers found that people with diabetes were the least likely to visit the dentist, followed by people with prediabetes. From 2004 to 2014, the proportion of annual dental visits declined from 66.1 percent to 61.4 percent among people with diabetes, 66 percent to 64.9 percent among people with prediabetes, and 71.9 percent to 66.5 percent among people without diabetes.

"This pattern is concerning, given that timely dental care is essential for good oral health, especially in individuals with diabetes. Those who need dental care the most seem to be the least likely to have it," said study author Huabin Luo, PhD, of East Carolina University.

Several factors may account for the underutilization of dental services by people with diabetes, according to the researchers. People may not be aware of the impact of diabetes on their oral health and vice versa. In addition, in a previous study, individuals with diabetes more frequently reported the cost of dental care as a reason for avoiding routine visits.

The researchers also observed racial and ethnic disparities in dental care. Black and Hispanic individuals were less likely to visit the dentist than were white people, and these disparities persisted over the decade studied. Males and single people were also less likely to regularly visit the dentist than females and married people.

While the study did not measure whether individuals had dental insurance, the researchers found substantial financial barriers to dental services for people with diabetes based comparing dental visits and income levels. The researchers assert that reducing these barriers and improving access to dental providers is needed, especially among people with diabetes and prediabetes.

"Healthcare providers and public health professionals should promote oral health in diabetes management and encourage people with diabetes to visit a dentist at least annually. Increasing access to dental services is vital to achieving this goal," said Wu, who is also co-director of the NYU Aging Incubator.
-end-
In addition to Wu and Luo, study authors include Ronny A. Bell, Wanda Wright, and Qiang Wu of East Carolina University.

About the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing

NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing is a global leader in nursing education, research, and practice. It offers a bachelor of science with a major in nursing, a master of science, post-master's certificate programs, a doctor of nursing practice degree, and a doctor of philosophy in research theory and development.

New York University

Related Diabetes Articles:

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).
Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.
Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.
Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.
People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.
Diabetes, but not diabetes drug, linked to poor pregnancy outcomes
New research indicates that pregnant women with pre-gestational diabetes who take metformin are at a higher risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes -- such as major birth defects and pregnancy loss -- than the general population, but their increased risk is not due to metformin but diabetes.
New oral diabetes drug shows promise in phase 3 trial for patients with type 1 diabetes
A University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus study finds sotagliflozin helps control glucose and reduces the need for insulin in patients with type 1 diabetes.
Can continuous glucose monitoring improve diabetes control in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin
Two studies in the Jan. 24/31 issue of JAMA find that use of a sensor implanted under the skin that continuously monitors glucose levels resulted in improved levels in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin multiple times a day, compared to conventional treatment.
More Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Debbie Millman: Designing Our Lives
From prehistoric cave art to today's social media feeds, to design is to be human. This hour, designer Debbie Millman guides us through a world made and remade–and helps us design our own paths.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Insomnia Line
Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about. So what'd Radiolab decide to do?  Open up the phone lines and talk to you. We created an insomnia hotline and on this week's experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.   This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens. Want more Radiolab in your life? Sign up for our newsletter! We share our latest favorites: articles, tv shows, funny Youtube videos, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and more. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.