A new study shows that in addition to the risk of vision problems and amputations, tooth loss is another physical toll associated with type 2 diabetes. The research showed that diabetics lose twice as many teeth on average as those without the disease.
The researchers pointed out that gum disease is a common complication of diabetes and the ultimate consequence of gum disease is tooth loss. Moreover, they noted that the relationship is bidirectional; on the one hand, diabetes raises the odds for poor dental health, while deteriorating teeth and gums are linked to worse overall health in people with diabetes.
Diabetic patients are normally referred to eye doctors, since diabetes is a major cause of vision loss. Foot exams are also recommended, because amputation resulting from poor circulation and nerve damage is a serious complication of diabetes, but very few doctors recommend diabetic patients to a dentist, noted the study.
Regular dental visits and good home care of the teeth and gums are important for the management of diabetes, added the researchers at Duke University in North Carolina in the US, who collected data on more than 37,000 people who took part in the survey from 1971 through 2012. Using an additional analysis, the researchers found that in 1999-2000, for example, people with diabetes were 34 percent less likely to have at least 21 teeth than those without the disease.