To reduce the risk of gum disease, the American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes brush twice and floss once daily and see the dentist twice a year. But only about two-thirds of all US adults seek dental care within a year. Regular dental checkups are more important for those with diabetes. Thus, we studied the current oral health status (visiting a dentist or a dental clinic in the past year and the number with permanent tooth loss) in US adults aged ≥ 18 years with and without diagnosed diabetes using data from the 2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Both diabetes and oral health-related information were self-reported. We computed overall and state-specific age-adjusted estimates by diabetes status. In 2020, 64.4% (95% CI 64.0%-64.8%) of US adults had a dental visit within the past year. Annual dental checkups were more common among women, older people, non-Hispanic White persons, and those having higher education, better income, and health insurance. The proportion of US adults with diabetes seeing a dentist in the past year was significantly lower compared to those without diabetes (56.7% [95% CI 54.8%-58.5%] vs. 65.4% [95% CI 65.0%-65.8%]) . Both men (56.3% [95% CI 53.6%-58.9%] vs. 62.4% [95% CI 61.9%-63.0%]) and women (57.1% [95% CI 54.6%-59.6%] vs. 68.2% [95% CI 67.7%-68.8%]) with diabetes were also significantly less likely to get dental care than their counterparts. The frequency of annual dental visits among adults with diabetes also varied by state; Texas had the lowest percentage (39.8% [95% CI 32.5%-47.6%]) while Alaska had the highest (77.1% [95% CI 68.8%-83.7%]) . Adults with diabetes (34.1% [95% CI 32.4%-35.9%]) were also more likely to have a history of one or more permanent teeth removed due to tooth decay or gum disease than those without diabetes (26.5% [95% CI 26.1%-26.8%]) . Without having regular dental checkup and adequate oral hygiene, adults with diabetes are at increased risk for gum disease. These findings highlight a gap in preventive oral care among adults with diabetes.


P. Cho: None. I.A. Hora: None. K.M. Bullard: None.

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