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People with diabetes are more vulnerable to periodontal disease than those without; thus, practicing preventive oral health care is an important part of diabetes self-care. Our objective was to examine disparities in preventive oral health care among US adults with diabetes. We performed a secondary analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011-2016. Periodontal examinations were conducted in adults aged 30 and older. We compared the weighted prevalence of periodontal disease and the practice of preventive oral health care, including practicing dental interproximal cleaning (flossing or using other interproximal cleaning devices) and use of preventive dental services, among people with and without diabetes. Multivariable logistic regressions were performed to examine the relationship between the presence of diabetes, periodontal disease, and preventive oral health care practices. Weighted prevalence of periodontal disease in the US population was higher among adults with diabetes than those without (58.0% vs 37.6%). This difference persisted after controlling for sociodemographic characteristics and smoking status. People with diabetes were more likely to have periodontal disease (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.39; 95% CI, 1.17-1.65), less likely to practice daily interproximal cleaning (aOR 0.85; 95% CI, 0.75-0.95), and less likely to visit a dentist for preventive care in the past year (aOR 0.86; 95% CI, 0.76-0.96) than people without diabetes. Adults with diabetes reported suboptimal preventive oral health care behaviors in use of preventive dental services and interproximal dental cleaning than people without diabetes, despite their health disparity related to periodontal disease. Educating people to improve their preventive oral health care is essential for good oral health and diabetes self-management.


Yuqing Zhang, Suzanne G Leveille, Ling Shi, Sarah M Camhi. Disparities in Preventive Oral Health Care and Periodontal Health Among Adults With Diabetes. Preventing chronic disease. 2021 May 13;18:E47

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PMID: 33988497

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