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Does diabetes lead to gum disease? The answer is much more likely to be yes for men than for women, ETSU researcher finds

Contributed • Aug 24, 2018 at 4:54 PM

Research conducted by an East Tennessee State University faculty member is garnering attention for its findings related to periodontal disease in people diagnosed with diabetes.

Dr. Ying Liu, an assistant professor in the ETSU College of Public Health, recently found that men with type 2 diabetes are three times more likely to develop periodontitis — a serious gum infection that can destroy the bone surrounding teeth — than those without diabetes.

However, that same link could not be found in women with diabetes versus women without it, according to Liu’s research.

To conduct her research, Liu analyzed 2009-14 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in the United States.

“We found a significant association between type 2 diabetes and moderate-to-severe periodontitis in men,” Liu said, noting that the same link was not present in women.

“Healthy behaviors in oral hygiene are important for everyone and especially so for men who are diabetic and obese.

“Dental providers need not only be aware of whether their patients have diabetes or not, but also need to use gender-based approaches based on evidence to promote oral health and prevent periodontitis.”

Liu’s research study was published in the International Dental Journal in May.

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