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Diabetes Increases Risk for Tooth Loss
May 15, 2013

By Nancy Volkers
InteliHealth News Service

INTELIHEALTH - Adults with diabetes are twice as likely as other adults to have lost some of their natural teeth, a study has found.

Researchers used data from a U.S. national health survey. The data were collected between 2003 and 2004. Just over 2,500 people were included in the study.

Among people with diabetes, 28% had lost all of their natural teeth. Among people without diabetes, 14% had lost all of their teeth. Researchers said this put people with diabetes at more than twice the risk for complete tooth loss.

Among people with natural teeth, diabetics had lost an average of about 10 teeth. People without diabetes had lost an average of 6 or 7 teeth.

The researchers concluded that in the United States, 1 of every 5 cases of complete tooth loss is linked with diabetes.

Uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes affects the entire body. It increases a person's risk for periodontal disease. This disease causes inflamed, bleeding gums and destroys the tissues and bone that support teeth. Without those tissues, teeth become loose and fall out.

Other research has found that treating a person's periodontal disease makes diabetes easier to control.

The study appears in the May issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

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