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New study links dental problems to elevated diabetes risk

A new study has linked poor dental health to an elevated risk of diabetes. The findings of a research project conducted in the US suggest that dental health issues may be a risk factor for diabetes.

Lead author of the study, Raynald Samoa, from the City of Hope National Medical Centre’s Department of Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism in California, explained that the condition of the teeth may be an indicator of your risk of developing diabetes. The research team analysed the impact of glucose tolerance on oral health and they found that deteriorating levels of tolerance correlated with an increased number of missing teeth. Assistant professor Samoa pointed out that the study doesn’t confirm a causal relationship, but underlines the strength of the relationship between oral health and diabetes.

To reach a conclusion, the team analysed data from 9,670 adults aged over 20. All the participants had been for a dental check during the National Health and Nutrition Survey  2009-2014. The team analysed glucose tolerance states and the body mass index (BMI). To do this, they looked at test results including fasting plasma glucose, 2-hour post-challenge glucose and haemoglobin A1c. They also took into account whether diabetes was established and how it was managed.

The research team discovered that the number of missing teeth increased as glucose tolerance decreased. In the group that had normal glucose tolerance, the proportion of people with missing teeth was 45.57%, but this rose to 67.61% in the group that had abnormal glucose tolerance and 82.87 percent in the study group with established diabetes.

The findings of the study were presented at the 100th annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Chicago on March 19th.

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