Diabetes Study Reveals Despite Higher Risks Most People With Diabetes Don't Change Their Oral Care Routines

Oct 28, 2010, 11:26 ET from dLife

WESTPORT, Conn., Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Diabetes is a disease that affects every part of the body, and for people with unstable blood glucose levels there is a higher risk than normal for developing serious complications from poor oral hygiene. In a study by dLife, the world's largest diabetes community, and SoundView Research, Inc., 66 percent of active diabetes managers had not changed their oral care habits since being diagnosed and over half have not been advised by their dentist to take extra care to brush, floss, or rinse daily.

"The results of this study show the gulf that exists between perceptions and the connections between diabetes and oral health. Your dental health absolutely affects the control of your diabetes," says Charles W. Martin, DDS, MAGD, DABOI/ID, DICOI, FIADFE. "Inflammation in the mouth coming from gum disease spreads to the whole body. This inflammation increases insulin resistance, cholesterol levels, and C-reactive protein levels. So, uncontrolled oral disease can be the hidden factor working against those trying to maintain good control over their diabetes."

Eight hundred people with diabetes were surveyed on their knowledge of what they considered 'good' daily oral health care. Three-fourths believed their routines to be effective, even though 60 percent reported using floss and rinse less than once a day. More than half of the participants said they went to regular checkups and that their dentists were aware of their diabetes. One in five believed a little bleeding when brushing was okay.

While 78 percent believe that "the mouth is the gateway to infection in the body," there is still a need for more education around diabetes and oral care. Sixty-two percent said they were unsure or disagreed that gingivitis makes it more difficult to control blood sugar levels.

Dr. Martin added that people with diabetes are more likely to have tooth decay problems, dry mouth, bone loss, tooth loss, and accelerated oral breakdown compared to those who do not have diabetes. "As health care providers, people look to us for guidance. We need to give it. Too few people with diabetes know the dire consequences that can befall them because of just not knowing."

Through education and the practice of good dental care and oral hygiene habits – brushing and flossing daily and by keeping blood sugar levels under control – infection from gum disease can be reduced or eliminated along with the risk of tooth loss.

For additional information on diabetes and oral health care go to http://www.dlife.com/oralcare. For additional statistics from this study or to request an interview please contact Mary Anglade at anglade@dlife.com or at 203-221-3443.

About dLife - For Your Diabetes Life

dLife is the only multimedia network serving the diabetes community. Its award-winning media outlets include dLifeTV, the only lifestyle TV series for people with diabetes, airing every Sunday on CNBC (7 p.m. ET, 4 p.m. PT); dLife.com, the leading online destination for diabetes information, inspiration, and connection, featuring more than 9,000 recipes, 400 videos, and 80,000 pages of content; and other consumer and professional programs to inform, inspire, and connect people with diabetes and those who care for them every day.  

Charles W. Martin, DDS, MAGD, DABOI/ID, DICOI, FIADFE is the author of three books for dental patients: This Won't Hurt a Bit, the Smart Consumer's Guide to Dentistry; Are your Teeth Killing You? and Don't Sugarcoat it, the Story of Diabetes and Dentistry. He founded DentistryForDiabetics.com, a national group of dentists in private care committed to helping those with diabetes with their dental health. He maintains a private practice centered on healthy teeth for life, dental implants, and cosmetic dentistry in Richmond, Virginia.

About SoundView Research, Inc.

SoundView Research is a full service market research company composed of senior level researchers and consultants. These individuals have a vast amount of experience using both standard and customized techniques to help clients develop a better understanding of their customers and unique insights into their attitudes and behavior. SoundView has formed a strategic partnership with dLife providing exclusive access to their membership database of active, engaged, and double opted-in diabetes consumers and caregivers.  Through this partnership, SoundView offers marketers a window into an untapped, fresh, and vocal audience who yield perspective and passion.