The Columbia University Medical Centre has revealed that the established links between diabetes and the destruction of the gums, can start in children as young as six years of age. It was previously thought that the regressive affects of gum disease only occurred at a later stage of life. The study highlights the need for early oral health screenings amongst diabetic children.
The study was a collaboration between teams of researchers at the Columbia Univeristy College of Dental Medicine, the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Centre and the Mailman School of Public Health. Aspects of the study were funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Experts who lead the study put forward the point that preventing and treating periodontal disease should be a priority for young diabetics.
Previous studies have linked poor dental care with diabetes, and diabetic patients are perceived as being less likely than people without diabetes to have had a dental appointment in the last year. The authors of the study called for physicians and dentists to promote and teach the necessity of extra attention to oral health. The study was based around a group of just over 180 children and adolescents with diabetes, and a group of 160 control subjects.
Diet and dental care affect the state of gums. The results of the study are published in the leading journal, Diabetes Care.

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