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Patients With Diabetes May Visit The Dentist Less Frequently

Growing evidence suggests that when compared with the general population, patients with diabetes face increased risk for periodontal diseases—which, in turn, is believed to adversely affect blood glucose levels.

Growing evidence suggests that when compared with the general population, patients with diabetes face increased risk for periodontal diseases—which, in turn, is believed to adversely affect blood glucose levels. For this reason, maintaining optimum oral health is essential for patients with diabetes. However, a joint study by New York University (NYU) Rory Meyer College of Nursing in New York and East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine in Greenville, North Carolina, reports that adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than healthy individuals or those with prediabetes.

The team used national data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System that included 248,203 adults with diabetes, 30,520 with prediabetes, and 2,221,534 without diabetes. According to researchers, the proportion of annual dental visits between 2004 and 2014 declined from 66.1% to 61.4% among subjects with diabetes. Among individuals with prediabetes, visits dropped from 66.0% to 64.9%, while rates went from 71.9% to 66.5% in those without diabetes.

The study, “Trends in Annual Dental Visits Among U.S. Dentate Adults With and Without Self-Reported Diabetes and Prediabetes, 2004–2014,” published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, also found ethnic and racial disparities, as well as financial barriers to dental services. “Health care providers and public health professionals should promote oral health in diabetes management and encourage people with diabetes to visit a dentist at least annually,” notes senior author Bei Wu, PhD, Dean’s Professor in Global Health and director of Global Health and Aging Research at NYU Rory Meyer College of Nursing. “Increasing access to dental services is vital to achieving this goal.”

Hygiene Connection E-Newsletter
May 2018

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