Why Dental Visits Are A Must For People Suffering From Diabetes
According to research, it is important for people suffering from diabetes to take care of their oral health. Visiting the dentist regularly is important for diabetics, especially because they are at higher risk of periodontal diseases – which are referred to as gum infections which can cause damage to the jawbone. The research was conducted by New York University and East Carolina University. It states that there is a two-way relationship between diabetes and oral health. The study also showed that there is an overall decline in visiting the dentists among people with and without diabetes. Also, people suffering from diabetes are the least likely to get any oral healthcare.
Periodontal disease is known to have a negative impact on blood glucose control – which can further trigger a condition like diabetes. Periodontal disease has been termed as the 6th complication that arises after a person is diagnosed with diabetes. This is after other health complications like heart diseases, kidney diseases and possible damage to the retina.
The study’s senior author Bei Wu was quoted by ANI saying that people with diabetes should visit the dentist regularly along with being proactive about their dental health. Visiting the dentist regularly will give people suffering from diabetes more opportunities for early detection of periodontal disease, its prevention and treatment. This can further help in controlling blood glucose and preventing complications that arise after a person is diagnosed with diabetes.
The study took into consideration dental visits – of people with diabetes, prediabetes and without diabetes – from 2004 to 2014. The researchers scrutinised the ethnic and as well as racial disparities in these dental visits.
The data was taken from Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System which is a telephone survey conducted on adult in the US annually. As part of the survey, the respondents were questioned about their dental visits in the past 12 months. They were also asked if they were ever diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes.
People with diabetes were found to be least likely to visit the dentist. Following them were people with prediabetes. In the 10 year period from 2004 to 2014, annual dental visits declined from 66.1% to 61.4% among people suffering from diabetes. The annual dental visits among people suffering from prediabetes came down to 64.9% from 66%. Amongst people without diabetes, the annual dental visits came down to 66.5% from 71.9%.
This decline in numbers in dental visits should be a matter of concern. Dental care is an essential requirement for people with or without diabetes. According to dentist Saryu Khanna, a healthy mouth is the gateway to a healthy body. “A healthy mouth leads to a healthy body, which enables us to display our most priced feature – our smile – with confidence. Poor oral hygiene plays a significant role in certain systemic problems and makes an individual more prone to cardiovascular diseases like diabetes, alzeimers and low birth weight babies,” she says.
Agrees Dr Sujeet Jha, who says that there is a direct link between diabetes and oral health care. “There has been direct association that oral health can worsen diabetes and diabetes can worsen oral health. Studies have shown that if you improve your diabetes, your oral health will improve as well. A typical diabetic should make sure s/he makes a dental visit every year. There are studies which show that if your oral health improves, your diabetes will automatically show an improvement. So, the two are directly related to each other and we shouldn’t ignore either of the two.”
(Dr Saryu Khanna is B.D.S, Single Visit Root Canal Specialist and Certified Implantologist based in Delhi)
(Dr Sujeet Jha is Director, Institute of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, Max Healthcare) Courtesy NDTV