Diabetics Care Less About Their Oral Hygiene: Study

Diabetics Care Less About Their Oral Hygiene: Study

by Hannah Joy on  April 3, 2018 at 8:27 PM Health Watch
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Highlights
  • A two-way relationship has been found between diabetes and oral health
  • Adults with and without diabetes had an overall decline in dental visits
  • People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently than those without diabetes
Adults with diabetes were found to visit the dentist rarely than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, reveals a new study.
Diabetics Care Less About Their Oral Hygiene: Study

The new study was led by the research team at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine. The study was published in The Journal of the American Dental Association.

The results show that adults with and without diabetes had an overall decline in dental visits, especially among adults with diabetes, as they least cared about oral health. However, in this study, a two-way relationship has been found between diabetes and oral health.

Link Between Diabetes and Oral Health

People with diabetes are at a greater risk of developing periodontal disease, which is a chronic inflammation of the gums. The disease has adverse effects on blood glucose control and contributes to the progression of diabetes.

In fact, periodontal disease is called as the sixth complication of diabetes after issues such as kidney disease, heart disease and damage to the retina.

"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 prevent 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.

Previous studies have shown that people with diabetes were found to have fewer dental visits than those without diabetes.

Findings of this Study

In this study, the research team assessed the trends of annual dental visits from 2004 to 2014 in adults with diabetes, prediabetes, and without diabetes. They also assessed racial and ethnic disparities during these visits.

The data was collected from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which is an annual telephone survey of U.S. adults. The participants were asked if they had a dental visit in the last 12 months or not and if they were ever diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes.

In this study, about 2.5 million adults who were 21 years and older, including 248,203 people with diabetes, 30,520 with prediabetes, and 2,221,534 without diabetes were included in the study.

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, Ph.D., of East Carolina University.

Factors linked to Dentist Visit and Oral Hygiene

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. Also, 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.

The research team observed that people with diabetes were the least to make a dental visit, then followed by people with prediabetes.

The team also found that from 2004 to 2014, dental visits were declined from 66.1 to 61.4 percent among people with diabetes.

About 66 to 64.9 percent decline was seen among people with prediabetes, and 71.9 to 66.5 percent among people without diabetes. However, various factors can be considered for the decline of dental services by people with 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, Ph.D., of East Carolina University.

Care to be Taken

People are not aware of the impact of diabetes on their oral health. Also, previous studies show that individuals with diabetes have reported more frequently about the cost of dental care, which is the main reason for avoiding routine visits.

The research team also observed racial and ethnic disparities in oral care health.

Black and Hispanic individuals were found to visit the dentist much lesser than white people, and these disparities continued for decades. Males and singles were also found to visit the dentist lesser than females and married people.

In this study, the research team could not measure if individuals had dental insurance or not. They also found enormous financial barriers to dental services for people with diabetes.

The research team assures that minimizing these barriers and improving access to dental providers among people with diabetes and prediabetes can improve their dental health.

"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.



Source: Medindia

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