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Children with Type 2 diabetes more prone to poor oral health

Kriens, 2 April: A new study has now shown that obese children with Type 2 diabetes are more likely to have poor oral health compared with normal-weight and obese children without the disease.

Useful helpers - Kriens, 2 April: A new study has now shown that obese children with Type 2 diabetes are more likely to have poor oral health compared with normal-weight and obese children without the disease.

Decayed and filled teeth were similar between three groups: children with normal weight, obesity and obesity in combination with Type 2 diabetes. The severity of gingival inflammation (assessed using a gingival index) was worst in the Type 2 diabetes group. While more individuals in the normal-weight and obese healthy group had an excellent or good gingival rating, none of the participants in the diabetes group had an excellent gingival rating.

In addition, children with diabetes were less likely to have had a dental visit within the last six months. “It turns out that while obese adolescents with Type 2 diabetes typically do have access to dental health, often through federally funded insurance, they do not routinely go to the dentist,” said Dr. Lucy Mastrandrea, associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University at Buffalo, at which the study was conducted.

“The most important finding of this research is that, like adults, children with Type 2 diabetes appear more vulnerable to periodontal inflammation than normal lean or obese children,” said co-author Prof. Frank A. Scannapieco from the university’s Department of Oral Biology. “It provides justification for the need for additional attention to oral hygiene in children with Type 2 diabetes.”

Mastrandrea is now interested in exploring whether better dental care right after diagnosis might help mitigate the trend toward more periodontal disease in children with Type 2 diabetes in a longitudinal study. She is also interested in whether the same trend holds true for children with Type 1 diabetes.

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