LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A new study from a Californian medical center detailed a specific warning sign for diabetes. It showed that poor, dental hygiene can lead to an increased risk for the disease.
Rose Mcgee, who has had diabetes for two years, first learned about this relationship between dental health and diabetes when she became a nurse.
She said it made sense due to her family's dental history.
"That goes a long way for me understanding some of the things with them losing their teeth early," Mcgee said. "My mom had false teeth and my grandparents before them."
According to the study, periodontitis, a type of gum infection, was found in patients prior to their diabetes diagnosis, compared to healthy subjects.
"Unfortunately what we see is that teeth tend to become loose more quickly because we see accelerated bone loss around the supporting teeth," said Lufkin dentist, Kyle King. "In addition, that glucose get's into the saliva fluids as well. And, so what happens is that we see a lot of cavities, in particular, right at the gum line."
But, King said that diabetes isn't the only non-dental health issue that can be found, during dentist's visit.
"We're looking at increased risk of cardiovascular and heart attacks, increased risk of Alzheimer's between the plaques that are developing, stroke, ocular problems," King said.
All these conditions fall in different categories of the health system, which Mcgee said would've been hard to address as a whole, when she was a kid.
"Back during those days, the dentist didn't talk to the doctor, and the doctor didn't talk to the chiropractor, and so on and so forth," Mcgee said.
King said that better communication systems have made it easier to treat the whole patient.
"We're able to consult with their physician for their primary care, and what not, to be able to try and make sure that we get the patient the best prognosis," King said. "We try and really tackle it from all angles."
The Hope National Medical Center study also predicted that one in every three people will have diabetes by the year 2050.