Diabetes Alert: Obesity, Inactivity, Poor Oral Health Increase Risk For The Disease

Mar 28, 2001, 00:00 ET from American Dental Hygienists' Association

    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