Health & Fitness

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Can Your Dentist Determine Your Risk of Diabetes?

It is common knowledge that regular dental cleanings help most individuals avoid cavities and costly fillings. However, new research Should I Be A Dentist Quiz suggests that a visit to the dentist could actually prove to be the first step in determining one’s risk for diabetes.
Scientists at New York University discovered the relationship while reviewing a previous study of nearly 3000 subjects who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2003. The data collected during the survey covered a wide range of information such as weight, height, age, blood pressure, and medical history, but the NYU team uncovered a connection between instances of periodontal disease and type 2 diabetes risk. In cases where individuals suffered from periodontal disease an alarming 93 percent were also identified as high risk for developing diabetes. Common risk factors included high blood pressure, high body mass index, and family history of diabetes.
Periodontal disease is a condition that develops when plaque forms around the teeth and gums. The most common cause of plaque build-up is inadequate brushing, when food particles are not sufficiently cleared away. The particles stay on and between the teeth, begin to decay, attract bacteria, and eventually this decay starts to impact the structure of the teeth and gums. Symptoms of periodontal disease include swollen or bleeding gums, redness, loose teeth, and tooth discoloration. If left untreated, periodontal disease leads to severe tooth decay and tooth loss.
It is thought that as many as 75 percent of Americans over the age of 35 have some form of periodontal disease.
To avoid periodontal disease, visit a dentist at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning. Increase daily intake of vitamin C, which helps slow the progression of gingivitis, the earliest form of periodontal disease. Avoid eating excessive amounts of refined sugar and processed carbohydrates. Consume more food and drinks that promote healthy teeth and gums. Apples, pure water, and chamomile tea are all especially good choices.
Dr. Sheila Strauss, the lead author of the report, suggests that dentists could play a crucial role in early diabetes screening. Assessments could be done right in the office, with non-invasive procedures such as a simple finger prick and blood sugar measurement taken with a glucometer.
About 24 million Americans suffer from type 2 diabetes and conservative estimates reveal that nearly 25 percent of those are unawar4e that they have the disease. By 2025 it Diabetes And Tooth Extraction often always afflicts the older segment of the population, and more than 12 percent of blacks and Hispanics are diabetic as compared with just six percent of Caucasians.
While it would be fairly simple for dentists to screen at-risk patients for diabetes, the study did reveal one particularly troublesome finding. Approximately 60 percent of study participants with periodontal disease reported only one dentist visit over the course of two years. In fact, the report indicated that individuals with advanced periodontal disease were far less likely to have visited a dentist in the past two years. This suggests that most patients who are at risk simply do not or cannot access regular dental care – if they do not seek treatment, they cannot be screened for diabetes.
However, for those who do receive regular dental care, there may be hope in identifying their risk for type 2 diabetes before the condition becomes unmanageable or potentially life-threatening.