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Older Diabetics Have Poor Oral Health

October 30, 2013

By Nancy Volkers
InteliHealth News Service

INTELIHEALTH - A study shows that older adults with diabetes tend to visit the dentist less and have poorer oral health than people without diabetes.

The results were based on national surveys from 2006, 2008 and 2010. The studies included more than 70,000 people. All were at least 65 years old and had diabetes.

People with diabetes were more likely to have lost teeth as a result of gum disease or tooth decay. Those who had lost teeth rated their general health as poorer than people who had not lost teeth.

People with diabetes also were less likely to have visited a dentist in the previous year. Only 59% of people with diabetes had a dental visit, compared with 71% of non-diabetics. People who hadn't visited the dentist tended to rate their general health as poorer than people who had a dental visit.

Uncontrolled diabetes can affect oral health. It makes gum disease harder to treat and causes slower healing.

The study appears in the October issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.

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