Diabetes can take a toll on a person’s health in any number of ways, including vision, cardiovascular, and nerve problems — but according to Dr. Ryne Johnson, prosthodontist at Newton Wellesley Dental Partners, “many people don’t realize it can harm teeth, gums and bone, too. A new study highlights the risk and reveals that people with diabetes lose twice as many teeth as those without the condition”.

The study, from Duke University researchers, shows that while tooth loss has dropped overall in the U.S. over the past 40 years, people with diabetes remain much more vulnerable. African-Americans with diabetes are especially likely to lose teeth.

“They did indeed find there was a clear connection between tooth loss and diabetes, especially among African Americans,” said American Dental Association spokesperson Dr. Edmond Hewlett. He said the study sheds light on two issues that are important and timely public health concerns.

Hewlett said diabetes can put patients at more risk for gum disease and eventually tooth loss, but that it works the other way around, too. “Gum disease can also complicate diabetes and make it more difficult to manage”. Hewlett recommends people with diabetes brush twice a day, floss once a day, and visit the dentist at least twice a year.

Dr. Johnson recommends an ‘aggressive’ regimen for his diabetics patients that include using a mechanical toothbrush (Braun/Oral B or Sonicare) two or three times daily, flossing daily and a 4x/year dental-cleanings schedule. For more information visit: www.NewtonWellesleyDentalPartners.com

Original article found at CBSInteractive.com