CHICAGO, March 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Inspired by today's National Diabetes
Alert, thousands of Americans will resolve to reduce their risk for diabetes
by losing weight and increasing their physical activity however, thousands
more are still unaware that neglecting their oral health can also promote the
onset of the disease, according to recent research.
"Dental hygienists want Americans to understand that neglecting oral
infection such as gum disease and gingivitis may promote the onset of numerous
life-threatening illnesses including heart disease, stroke and diabetes," said
Karla Girts, BSDH, president of the American Dental Hygienists' Association
Last year, Surgeon General, David Satcher, MD, PhD, issued a comprehensive
report confirming a connection between poor oral health and systemic diseases.
According to Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General, poor
oral health is most often characterized by gum disease, which affects
75 percent of adults. "Advanced gum disease, foamy saliva and dry and
irritated tissue inside the mouth are all telltale signs that a patient may be
suffering from diabetes," Girts explained.
"Dental hygienists have consistently articulated a message warning
Americans that chronic infections in the mouth are serious because they
reflect what is going on in the rest of the body," Girts points out.
However, it is only within the last two decades that the medical and
scientific communities have improved their understanding of the etiology and
distribution of oral diseases, strengthening this message put forth by oral
health care professionals, Girts said.
Today, physicians routinely consider a dual diagnosis of gum disease and
diabetes as factors in patients who have trouble controlling their diabetes.
In fact, a recent study concluded that diabetic patients who received
treatment for their gum disease also showed a reduction in the need for
Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States last
year; the disease attributed to the deaths of 198,140 Americans, according to
data gathered by the American Diabetes Association.
ADHA is the largest national organization representing the professional
interests of more than 100,000 dental hygienists nationwide.
Dental hygienists are preventive oral health professionals, licensed in
dental hygiene, who provide education, clinical and therapeutic services that
support total health through the promotion of optimal oral health.
For reliable quick-hitting information concerning oral health care, ADHA
online at www.adha.org provides a snapshot of Americans' oral health care
SOURCE American Dental Hygienists' Association